This isn’t exactly a newsflash, but Tottenham Hotspur’s defensive woes need a major boost and in a hurry.
Three consecutive league losses have Spurs in limbo in the race for Champions League places, and with Manchester City in cruise control next on the fixture list, there’s a good chance that extends to four. There are two problems at play here: Eric Dier’s injury and Davinson Sanchez being bad. Dier has primarily been the stable force in the center of the back three, but he’s been out awhile and that’s forced Antonio Conte to go to the bench. One guy who has been trying hard to win over the Italian manager is Joe Rodon, and while we haven’t seen much of the Welsh International, there’s apparently a good reason for it: He’s been hurt and is trying to play through it.
The 24-year-old was keen to get a loan move away in the recent January window, but, despite interest from Premier League clubs and some in Spain and France, no moves proved attractive enough both Spurs and the player.
Under Conte, Rodon has tried to make himself available despite some painful rib injuries.
He first cracked one rib and fractured the cartilage during an accidental collision in training, but played through the pain to get himself selected to face Morecambe in the FA Cup.
However, in that cup game after an early aerial challenge, it was later found out that he had cracked another rib on the other side, which meant some of his movement was restricted for the majority of the game.
If this is the first you’re hearing about this, we’re right there with you. Rodon hasn’t appeared on any injury list that we’ve seen and it’s because he’s playing through pain. However, if you’ve ever suffered cracked ribs, you know what Rodon is dealing with. Range of motion is one part of it and usually just breathing hurts like hell. Now throw that person into the mix in a 90 minute match where sprinting is necessary and you can perhaps understand why Conte is hesitant to put him out there.
Rodon has been wanting a loan if he’s not being selected, and that’s understandable. Since his move last summer from Swansea City, Rodon has only appeared in 22 matches for a grand total of just 1325 minutes. He has often found himself on the bench or left out of the squad entirely even though he showed great promise in the Championship prior to the move.
I don’t know what the fix is for Tottenham’s struggles. Besides the two factors at the beginning of the article, there’s also the midfield woes. Harry Winks was terrible yesterday and Oliver Skipp has been dealing with an injury. The good news is that Skipp should be back soon, as should Dier. With the arrival of Rodrigo Bentancur, who was one of the few bright spots yesterday, perhaps the fix is imminent provided the injury bug doesn’t bit Spurs any further. Whether or not Rodon is a part of that fix is up to Conte, but right now I’m not holding my breath unless another player goes down.