Danny Rose played his first minutes for Tottenham Hotspur in 10 months in yesterday’s Champions League draw against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that his minutes came not as a left back, but as a defensive midfielder! Rose looked a little rusty but still played a pretty important role in the last 20 minutes of the game to help Spurs see out what was a hugely important point in Group H.
Rose’s cameo wasn’t just important for Tottenham’s draw yesterday — it also was significant in the aftermath of his hugely controversial interview in The Sun, where he criticized Tottenham’s transfer and wage policies. Now considered by some segments of Spurs’ fanbase a persona non grata and linked with a transfer to Manchester United, Rose said in the Evening Standard that he was expecting boos and cat calls from the visiting Spurs fans in Madrid, not the warm reception he received. And, that he’s learned his lesson from the aftermath of The Sun interview.
“My opinions will be voiced in a different way from now on. I’ve been disciplined and we move forward together as a club.
“I did what I did. I was expecting a frosty reception from the fans so I just have to say thank you to them for giving me a great reception when I came on and when I was training on the pitch after the game.
“I’m trying to look forward now for the rest of the season. First and foremost I have to try to win my shirt back. [What I said has] gone now, my manager [Mauricio Pochettino] has forgotten about it and we all move forward and we try to win this club a trophy.”
Rose has always been an outspoken guy — some online have called him a “vintage Yorkshireman” — and he strongly implies that his dissatisfaction at life at Tottenham was down mostly to frustration at the extent of his injury and the length of his rehabilitation. Rose was a key player for Spurs before his injury and a lock-down starter for England, but was forced to look on as Ben Davies steadily improved and his teammates helped Spurs finish second last season, their highest ever finish in the Premier League.
“We were all hoping I wouldn’t need an operation. All the signs were saying I didn’t and we just hoped and hoped and we lost a bit of time. In the end we decided to have the op and here I am.
“It’s taken a lot longer than expected but I’m over the moon I’m back. I want to win my shirt back here, win my shirt back for England. I want to win something here this season and I want to be in the World Cup squad at the end of the season. My season starts now.”
Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy were reportedly furious with Rose’s decision to go public with his frustrations. This was particularly upsetting considering Rose and Pochettino were viewed as having a very close relationship since Poch arrived from Southampton. Things have seemed to cool down in the ensuing months as Rose inched back to his reintegration into the Tottenham Hotspur first team. Now it appears that the water is mostly under the bridge.
The implication was that things just boiled over and... Rose didn’t handle it well. But now that he’s back, he’s focused on getting back his position as first choice left back.
“The manager called me upstairs and said: ‘You’re doing well, do you think you could do 10, 15 minutes in Madrid?’ I said, ‘Yes, of course, no problem.’
“It’s just been an unexpected couple of days because I thought I would be watching the game on TV at home. It’s amazing he put me on in midfield as well.
“It’s been a frustrating period but this last couple of days has made it all worth it.”
Spurs need Danny Rose in a big way this season. He’s no doubt still not at full match fitness, but Ben Davies already played lots of minutes already. Even if it takes Rose a while to regain the form that made him one of the best left backs in England last season, having both him and Davies healthy and competing for minutes will make Tottenham a better and more dangerous team. Just so long as Poch doesn’t plan on converting him to a defensive mid.