Guess who’s back? Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham Hotspur generated a ton of excitement this week. Nevermind that it’s likely going to be late October before we actually see him play, wasn’t it awesome seeing him in a Spurs shirt again? It might have been expensive but you can’t put a price on the feels that it gives you.
After a 5-2 thrashing of Southampton at St. Mary’s on Sunday, and with Bale getting us all nostalgic for 2012, let’s do today’s player rating theme to OTHER Tottenham players whom we should bring back, just ‘cause we can.
I leaned towards former players who are still actually playing football for this theme. There are a bunch of former players that I’d like to see again (Hi Berba!) but who have already hung up their boots.
5 stars: Mousa Dembele
Mousa may have lost half a step when he left for the Chinese Super League, but it’s years later and we STILL haven’t found a way to really replace him. Bring him back, stick him in midfield along Ndombele and GLC and let’s YOLO.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 5.0): Sonny tortured Southampton’s back line all match long, but especially in the second half. Don’t think it’s possible to score four goals and not get a five star rating.
Harry Kane (Community — 5.0): Got his goal in the end after having one called back for offside, but his real contribution was assisting all four of Sonny’s strikes. Hmm, maybe he IS the attacking #10 we all thought he was becoming last year. He also might be the second or third best passer on the team.
4.5 stars: Jermain Defoe
We need a backup striker. Defoe is currently playing for Rangers at age 38. You know what to do, Levy. Sure, he’s not tall the way Mourinho wants, but just put him in platform shoes and tell him to live off the shoulder of the last man.
I don’t have anyone for this category, I just needed to get Defoe in here.
4 stars: Marcus Edwards
Last season Edwards scored 7 goals, tallied 5 assists, and had .51 non-penalty xG90+xA90 in 2100 minutes for Vitoria Guimares. The kid’s good. Now that Poch is gone, let’s sell Lucas, cash in on our sell-on clause, and give Marcus a real chance.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 4.0): A really nice day at the office for Gio. I was upset about the substitution at the time, but it was apparently for the right reasons, and Gio came in and immediately helped up the tempo of the team. There are tons of matches and rotation is a must, but Spurs should play him as much as possible.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.5): I don’t think Ndombele’s best position is at the ten, but he did a good job in that role. His passing was again progressive, and that tackle and turn he had towards the end of the half was just sick. Mourinho said his halftime substitution was due to fitness; I believe him but hope we start to get him playing 90 minutes sooner rather than later.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 4.0): Could do little about either of Soton’s goals, but despite the weirdness of it his rush out to head away the dangerous Soton play in the first half was actually a nice bit of skill. Also had a phenomenal stop on a Che Adams shot. Had little to do (other than the penalty) in the second half.
3.5 — Roman Pavlyuchenko
Super Pav, still kicking at age 38, is currently plying his trade at FC Znamya Noginsk in the third division of Russian football. I don’t actually think he’d be GOOD were he to come back but for pure nostalgia purposes, who wouldn’t like to see Old Man Pav fire one into Row Z, just for old times sake?
Pierre Højbjerg (Community — 3.5): PEH was, I thought, pretty composed while on the ball. Kept it simple, didn’t try and do too much. Just a solid presence without getting too fancy. Small sample size but his best outing in a Spurs shirt, and that includes preseason. Let’s play him actually beside Ndombele or Lo Celso instead of behind him, and see what he can do as a true holder.
3 stars — Jake Livermore
Ever wondered what happened to Jake Livermore? He stuck it out in the Premier League and Championship with Hull City for three seasons before moving to West Brom in 2017. He’s now their club captain and a mainstay in central midfield at age 30 and can still do a job. I don’t think he was good enough for Spurs but I sometimes wonder what he’d be like had we kept him. Spurs play the Baggies away on November 7.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.0): Know who had a weirdly good match on Sunday? Ben Davies. A lot of that was because Kyle Walker-Peters resolutely refused to press him over the course of the game, and their other right sided player was Stuart Armstrong. Because of that, Ben had a lot more time to get forward and do good things than he has of late.
Erik Lamela (Community — 3.5): Erik came in when the game was already well won, but still added a healthy jolt of energy. Should’ve scored too and was unlucky to have his shot tipped off the post for Harry to pounce on, but I guess Sonny and Kane had already sucked all the finishing magic off the pitch. Can’t have everything. Counterpoint: I love him.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 3.0): As I hinted in the comments of yesterday’s post-match thread, things worked out on Sunday due to some exceptional finishing and moments of brilliance from Spurs’ best players, and credit to Mou for recognizing this and sending Spurs to double-down playing over the top. But I still have some questions about what Mourinho’s trying to do out there and some real concerns about what happens when Spurs come up against another club that doesn’t play a suicidal high line.
2.5 stars — Vlad Chiriches
Oh Vlad. We had some good times, didn’t we? Frightening times, nerve-wracking times. Times when you committed an air-kick, foul, and handball in the box on the same play. But fun, nonetheless. I miss your sense of style and the hot dog jokes. I don’t really miss your defending. Sorry.
Matt Doherty (Community — 3.0): Had a header for Kane that was ruled out for offside, but otherwise rarely a factor in this match. Did not cover his side of the pitch well defensively and looked off going forward. Not blaming him for the penalty, which was the result of a dumb interpretation of a bad rule, but this wasn’t a good match for him.
Eric Dier (Community — 2.5): Not sure if it was another bad match or if he just doesn’t pair well with Sanchez, after initial positive hopes I’m starting to get more down on the idea of Dier as a regular contributing CB.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3.0): Ponderously slow in defense in the first half and just looked like he didn’t much know what was going on out there. Improved in the second half, but that’s because Soton rarely threatened.
2 stars — Vincent Janssen
Thicc Vin gets the benefit of favorable hindsight now that we’re (again) looking for a backup striker. He’s done pretty well in Mexico, but let’s not forget just how bad he was playing for Tottenham while he was here. He just didn’t work out, and that’s okay. Sucks, but it happens sometimes. I really like him. I wish him well. I’m following his career with Monterrey. I don’t want him back.
Lucas Moura (Community — 2.5): Mou must really like what he does in training but I have not seen much of the Good Lucas that we know is in there. He was poor on the ball again Sunday, wayward with his passing, lacking creatively. What does Bergwijn need to do to get a league start?
Harry Winks (Community — 2.5): At what point do Winks’ consistently poor performances mean he doesn’t actually get to start Premier League matches anymore? And can we get there soon?
1 star: Paulinho
Paulinho’s career path from Corinthians → Tottenham → Guangzhou Evergrande → BARCELONA → back to Guangzhou Evergrande has to be one of the weirder ones in football and not at all shady, right? I had high hopes for him but I’ve come to think that despite the Barcelona stint he probably never was ever close in ability to the expectations that he had upon him at the time.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as potentially bringing back Paulinho.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Steven Bergwijn (Community — N/R)