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Is Tottenham's Danny Rose the best left back in the Premier League?

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Danny was a key part of Spurs' attack this season and England is devoid of elite left backs, is Rose the best?

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Cartilage Free Captain is once again reviewing each of Spurs' first team players and evaluating their 2015-16 season. The series continues today with Tottenham Hotspur defender Danny Rose.

Danny Rose

Goals: 1

Assists: 3

Cards: 7 yellow cards, 0 red cards

Favorite Dinner Date Companion: Erik Lamela

What Went Right?

After a breakout 2014/2015 season, Rose missed the first three games of the 2015/2016 campaign with an injury. Still he showed no signs of rust when he returned to the pitch against Everton in August. He still has his critics defensively, but on that day Rose kept Romelu Lukaku in his pocket. The prolific Belgian striker only managed one shot in the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane.

Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen deservedly got much of the credit, but Rose's consistency was also a big part of Spurs' surprisingly impressive defensive record. He was brilliant in the scoreless draw with Liverpool in November. Mousa Dembele got much of the attention, but go and re-watch that game. Danny was everywhere, in a good way. He was fulfilling his responsibilities at the back and creating chances, but he had yet to notch his first assist. That changed against Aston Villa as he made the pass to Dembele, in the opening moments, that allowed Moose to bully his way through the Villa "defense" for a goal.

Tottenham handled Villa 3-1 that night, but Rose was also in a giving mood the next week at the Emirates. Advancing up the left, Rose saw a gap between Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny that was being filled by Harry Kane. He intelligently dinked the ball away from Koscielny and over Mertesacker, who then had no chance of outrunning Kane to the pass. Harry latched on and slotted the ball under Petr Cech, sending the away fans at the other end of the ground into delirium. Rose's vision is what allowed Kane to score yet another goal in the North London Derby.

Even in a system like Mauricio Pochettino's, where the fullbacks often look more like wingers, it's still rare for a left back to get on the score-sheet. Three goals in the league last year for Rose was almost certainly an anomaly. But having a left back who can pop-up with a goal every now and then is invaluable for a team that is competing for titles and trophies. Danny was getting himself in such good positions going forward, it was only a matter of time before he found the back of the net.

Credit to /r/soccer

His only goal of the season was a crucial one, and it was made possible by the position that Rose had put himself in. Spurs had a corner-kick late in a tie-game with Swansea that they needed to win in order to keep pace with Leicester City. Christian Eriksen's corner was cleared to the semi-circle just outside the box, but that's exactly where Danny Rose was. With the Swansea defense attempting to push quickly out of the box following the clearance, Rose did exactly what he was supposed to do. He hit the ball low and back where it had come from. Lukasz Fabianski was having a great game, but with the ball moving so quickly through so many bodies he really didn't have a chance at it.

Rose has always had the pace and dribbling ability of an elite left back, but this year he made noticeable advances in his positional awareness as an attacking fullback. The runs he makes out wide are often key to opening-up opposing defenses. Those runs won't show up in the stats, but they're one of the most important aspects of what it takes to be a successful fullback in Pochettino's system. And they certainly played a factor in Rose being named to the PFA Premier League Team of the Year.

What Went Wrong?

He's improved a lot, but by no means is Danny Rose a perfect player. He is still a bit spotty when tasked with defending a talented winger one-on-one, and his crossing can leave a lot to be desired. Getting into dangerous positions is one thing, but it's another to put a good ball across the box that actually finds a teammate. Sometimes Rose crosses the ball and it disappears behind the goal and into the crowd. Sometimes he crosses the ball into the right areas, only for no Spurs players to actually be in the area. His decision making on when to cross, and when to pull the ball back out, still needs work.

It's nitpicking, but Rose does also have a tendency to pick up knocks. He throws himself into tackles and runs up and down the sideline with such intensity, it's only natural he will pick up some bruises along the way. A couple years ago when Rose was injured, Vertonghen had to fill in at left back. That was problematic for more than a few reasons. Now thankfully Spurs have a backup left back, who actually enjoys playing the position, in Ben Davies.

Rose notably missed the horror show that was the 5-1 loss to Newcastle on the final day. It's unclear whether it was a tactical or mental choice, but Danny was healthy enough to make the bench. Davies wasn't particularly bad, but you have to wonder if we missed Rose's ability to open-up a defense in the first half. Or maybe he could've miraculously saved a goal like he did at Monaco in the Europa League.

Credit to /r/coys

What Now?

When Danny Rose signed a new contract on July 31, 2014, the reaction from Spurs fans was one of anger and confusion. Rose had shown promise on loan at Sunderland during the 2012/2013 season, but he'd followed that up with a mistake-riddled season at Spurs under Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood. Many were calling for Rose to be sold, but newly hired Pochettino saw something they didn't, and thus rewarded Danny with a new deal.

Today, Danny Rose is an England international. There's a good chance he will be starting at left back at the Euros this summer for Roy Hodgson. Those who don't watch Spurs often may bemoan his presence in the national team, but this is not the same Danny Rose that dawdled on the ball in the FA Cup two years ago and allowed Tomas Rosicky a clear path to goal from midfield.

Competition after the Davies signing spurred him on, but it really is amazing how far Rose has come since then.

The Danny Rose of today may just be the best left back in the Premier League.

Rating: 4.5 Chirpys