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Days of whine and Roses: Danny opens up on Tottenham transfers, wages, and ambition

Danny Rose gave a scathing interview to The Sun where he called for important player signings and suggested that he and his Spurs teammates aren’t being paid what they’re worth

Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur left back Danny Rose has given one of the most blunt and thought-provoking interviews of his career. In a trilogy of articles which appeared in The Sun this morning, an especially candid Rose speaks openly and forthrightly about Tottenham’s lack of player transfers in this summer’s window, the inequality of Spurs’ wage structure compared to other top clubs, and why he wants to win tournaments and trophies before he hangs up his boots.

The article was teased by The Sun as a “sensational interview” with a mystery footballer that “will leave one top six club reeling.” Enough clues were dropped early on that most people surmised that the mystery player was indeed Rose, and the predictable meltdown on social media started almost immediately.

The resulting interview, as is typical of The Sun, is not nearly as dramatic, but it is extremely interesting and candid. We’ll get to what Danny actually said in a moment. But first, we need to talk a little bit about The Sun.

Here at Cartilage Free Captain, we made the decision long ago to never use The Sun as a primary source for transfer rumors. It’s not because they’re usually wrong, but there are plenty more reputable sources for football news that don’t carry the same kind of baggage that The Sun does (and, at least with regards to transfer rumors, aren’t nearly wrong as often).

So when quotes like this show up in The Sun, the first question shouldn’t be “Why did Danny Rose say these things,” it should be “What did Danny Rose actually say and should I maybe take a more careful read to determine whether this is completely overblown?” We believe one of our jobs is to make you, our readers, savvy consumers and critical thinkers about Tottenham Hotspur news. You need to have the information, but you also need to have the context, which is equally important.

That being said, here’s the cover, with the headline War of the Roses.

“War of the Roses”
The Sun

So let’s talk about these four quotes and compare them to the actual quotes from the article. One thing that I think you can surmise from the quotes Danny gave is that he either has no media filter, or he turned it off in order to be uncommonly forthright about his opinions.

Quote on the cover:

“Spurs must buy stars.”

Actual quote:

“I am not saying buy ten players, I’d love to see two or three — and not players you have to Google and say, ‘Who’s that?’ I mean well-known players.”

“Under Harry Redknapp we signed Rafa van der Vaart. It was like, ‘Wow, how did he do that?’ I mean signings like that are what we need — that’s just my opinion.

“As a Tottenham player I’d love to see more signings. It would lift me seeing a top player come through the door.

“I’ve seen a couple of players previously saying, ‘We don’t need a top signing or signings’. But I am sorry, I am not singing off the same hymn-sheet on that one.”

This isn’t all that bad. Rose is saying what we’re all thinking. The starting XI is one of the best in the league, but the way to improve is to bring in players who will push those currently in the starting XI to be better in training. There’s a ton of talent on this Tottenham team, but as we all know, very little real depth.

Danny knows probably more than any of us what actually goes into signing players in the transfer window, and he would probably also say that it is a lot more difficult than what gets reported in the media.

And while it is interesting that he publicly contradicts players like Jan Vertonghen and others who have suggested that Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy should be given the benefit of the doubt with regards to transfers, this isn’t anything that you wouldn’t hear at your typical Spurs pub on a Tuesday night. What’s interesting is that it’s coming from Danny Rose and is published in The Sun.

Quote on the cover:

“I’m not paid what I’m worth.”

Actual quote:

“In any walk of life, if you think you are worth a certain amount, why settle for less? I am not that person. If I get to levels I reached last season — and this goes out to everybody — I will make sure I get what I am worth. I don’t know how much longer I might have at this level. I’m not going to be stupid enough not to try and get the most out of it — medals, trophies and salary.

“Anyone who thinks this is primarily for money, that is not the case. But I know what I am worth. As with everyone else in my team, in my opinion, I am worth more than I am getting.

“I am not speaking on behalf of other players, but that is my view.”

In this one, The Sun actually pretty much gets it right. Danny Rose isn’t paid what he’s worth. None of Tottenham’s players are. As Kyle Walker proved, any one of them could ask for a transfer tomorrow and end up at a top club that would pay them 2-3 times their current weekly wage. Rose seems to go out of his way to say that he’s not solely motivated by money, but he’s essentially telling Tottenham that he will not be taken advantage of. That said, it’s important to also note that earlier in the interview he explicitly says he’s not angling to move.

Danny Rose currently makes £65k/week at Tottenham Hotspur.

Quote on the cover:

“I will play in the north.” / “I’d discuss a bid with the boss.”

Actual quote:

“I will play up north. I don’t know exactly when, but I will get back up north and play some football somewhere.

“I moved away from home (from Leeds to Spurs) at 16. Yes I’ve got team-mates who have moved away from families in South Korea and Argentina, but I have been away for over ten years now and I don’t get to see my mum that often. I am going to make it my priority before I retire to play football up there.

“My short-term focus is to get back to playing like last year and if I do that the long-term will take care of itself. I’m not saying I want out, but if something came to me that was concrete, I’d have no qualms about voicing my opinions to anyone at the club.”

The desire to be closer to home is not unique to Danny Rose. Football is littered with stories about players returning to the clubs where they began their careers, or moving to clubs that are closer to family or loved ones. Look at Wayne Rooney, for example, who returned to Merseyside and his first club Everton in the twilight of his career.

To my mind this isn’t Danny Rose issuing a come-and-get-me plea to José Mourinho, or expressing a desire to force a transfer to Manchester United. This is a footballer nearing the twilight of his career who just wants to eventually play his football closer to his mom.

Rose was also clear that he is as competitive a player as they come and wants to win trophies and titles before he finishes his career.

“I am reaching my peak and have probably only got one big contract left in me. Time is running out and I do want to win trophies. I don’t want to play football for 15 years and not have one trophy or one medal.

“Sorry, that’s not what I am about. I wouldn’t be happy with that. I want to win something.”

There are plenty of other juicy quotes to look at beyond the comparison from the cover to the interview, but we’ll save those for future articles.


The Sun is, quite frankly, the worst newspaper in Britain, a tabloid of the first order. Owned by Rupert Murdoch, whom you probably recognize as the owner of Fox network and Fox News in the United States, the paper has become synonymous over the years with trash journalism, overblown marketing, and the worst kinds of news stories.

Do you remember the terrible details in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster? The ones that blamed the victims of the catastrophe for what happened, and accused attendees of, among other things, picking the pockets of the dead and injured, and urinating on the cops? Many of those stories were published in The Sun. It is known as a place to go for salacious news items and hit jobs on politicians (particularly the Labour party), tacky paparazzi photographs of celebrities on the beach or trying to live their private lives, completely made up football transfer rumors with literally no basis in fact nor logic, and (until recently) photos of topless women on Page 3. The American equivalent might be a combination of the New York Post and the National Enquirer.

The fact that Rose gave his interview to The Sun and not any number of other newspapers that he could’ve spoken to, and The Sun’s overblown editorializing has caused a whole bunch of ruffled cockerel feathers in the Tottenham fanbase and (one assumes) within the club.

Danny Rose is outspoken, opinionated, and maybe a little brusque with his point of view. There are undoubtedly fans who are going to read these quotes and be angry at him. That’s fair. Danny comes across as extremely honest, but also arrogant and ungrateful, especially towards Pochettino, who helped develop him into England’s first choice left back. There will be accusations thrown around that he’s using this as a way to force a transfer away from Tottenham, or that he’s chasing one last big payday.

Moreover, Rose isn’t an idiot. There’s little question that he knows what it means to give an interview to The Sun. While he could’ve spoken to The Guardian and gotten a very good and balanced profile piece out of it, if you’re speaking to The Sun about your club’s transfer dealings you are trying to make a point. He also knows that he’s probably going to catch some blowback from either the club or his teammates for what he’s just said.

However, there isn’t really anything here that’s overtly damaging either to the club or any one particular club persona. These aren’t the quotes of a player who necessarily wants to leave Tottenham, these are the quotes of a player nearing the latter stages of his career as a top footballer who wants to make sure he can achieve everything he wants before he hangs up his boots.

Also, the sentiments expressed in these articles are very similar to the ones Rose gave in an interview with BBC 5Live not too long ago. Most fans I know were nodding their heads after Danny’s radio appearance, agreeing with much of what he said.

While the timing of this interview is poor and the medium untrustworthy, and despite not knowing the full impact of Danny’s words, in the end I suspect that most of this will blow over with time. There isn’t anything that Rose says that can’t be helped by the signing of a couple extremely solid players in the transfer windows, or a couple of wins in the Premier League. It certainly could’ve been handled differently, and perhaps with more tact, but in a certain sense it’s kind of nice to hear Tottenham’s current longest serving player come out and just say what pretty much all of us have been thinking for quite some time.