April 14, 2020 isn’t likely going to be remembered by anyone in the sports world. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that almost the entire sporting world has been shut down. There are no games, anywhere.
But April 14, 2010? That’s a different matter.
“OHHHHHHHHHHH WHATTA GOALLLLLLLLLLLLL”
“IT’S DANNY ROSE ON HIS PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT
WITH A MEMORABLE STRIKE”
Ten years ago today Daniel Lee Rose was a 19 year old left winger, fresh out of the Spurs academy and just back from an unsuccessful loan to Peterborough United that was cut short a couple of months early after manager Darren Ferguson was sacked. Harry Redknapp had Spurs improbably pushing for fourth place in the Premier League, while the Gunners knew that dropping points at Tottenham would effectively derail their title race.
Arsenal had dominated Tottenham in the reverse fixture that fall, winning 3-0 behind a brace from Robin Van Persie and a goal from Cesc Fabregas. Niko Kranjcar, Redknapp’s preferred left winger, was out injured for this match, and Redknapp opted to roll the dice, moving Luka Modric back into his preferred central position and throwing the teenage Rose into the crucible of a North London Derby Premier League debut. Notably, Rose’s partner on the other flank was another young player who would go on to become a very important part of Redknapp’s late Tottenham teams — Gareth Bale.
It took just nine minutes for Rose to make his mark on this match, and Tottenham history. That 30 yard blast, taken with his left foot on the full volley after Manuel Almunia had punched away a Spurs corner, was described by the Times of London as “a volley so thunderous that you could hear the whack off his boot above the din of the raucous crowd.” Rose was turning even before the goal hit the back of the net, and he sprinted in celebration almost the full length of the pitch, where he was nearly tackled by Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Tom Huddlestone. The White Hart Lane crowd was equal parts delirious and stunned — Did that just happen?
Commentator John Motson’s call of the goal remains one of his most oft-quoted, at least among Spurs circles. The color commentator’s reply — “I don’t care if he plays another 20 years, he’ll never score another goal as good as this in his life” — proved to be prescient. While Rose had a number of goals for Spurs over the ensuing decade, he never came close to scoring anything as good as what he did on his first day on the job at White Hart Lane.
Gareth Bale went on to score a second goal for Spurs in that match, and while Niklas Bendtner clawed back a consolation goal minutes before full time, Spurs never looked like losing. They went on to finish fourth that season, qualifying for their first ever Champions League. This loss to Spurs started a slide that saw Arsenal take just four points from their last five matches, still finishing third, but well back of champions Chelsea and 2nd place Manchester United.
Things weren’t always so smooth between Rose and Tottenham. He was close to an exit after falling out of favor with Andre Villas-Boas, spending a year on loan at Sunderland. It was Mauricio Pochettino who put his arm around Rose’s shoulder, promising Danny he’d take him to the England squad and then following through on that promise. The outspoken Rose has had public clashes with the Spurs brass over the years, culminating in that explosive Sun interview a few years ago, and it seems now as though he’s played his last match for Spurs after sliding down the roster and orchestrating a loan to Newcastle in January.
Ten years feels like a long time. It is a long time. But no one who was there, or who watched on television, will ever forget that debut, and it’ll no doubt go down as one of the greatest goals in Tottenham history. I watched this goal go in 7500 miles away from London on a pixelated and flaky illegal Sopcast stream. I yelped when it hit the back of the net and woke the toddler.
“I’d like to think it will be up there when it comes to goal of the season,” Rose said somewhat afterwards to the media, after swapping jerseys with Theo Walcott. “I hope my mum has taped it for me,”
No worries there, mate. Happy Dannyversary.