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Defoe. Time to change.

2 min read
by The Fighting Cock

This article was originally published over at http://www.footballscores.com/  At the beginning of the season I wrote an article on how the modern game of football has passed Jermain Defoe by. My argument was that a player of his style and stature just isn’t cut out to lead the forward line as a lone striker. To […]

This article was originally published over at http://www.footballscores.com/ 

At the beginning of the season I wrote an article on how the modern game of football has passed Jermain Defoe by. My argument was that a player of his style and stature just isn’t cut out to lead the forward line as a lone striker. To a certain extent I was right, but he hasn’t been nearly as ineffective as I thought he might be.

Andre Villas-Boas is obviously better placed to make an assessment on Defoe’s ability than I – and he believes in the pocket dynamo. Defoe, well he’s repaid the faith shown in him by returning goals, and plenty of them. After all that’s his job… to score goals.

But despite this he still isn’t convincing in the role we need him to play. There have been countless times this season, with only Defoe as a forward outlet, that our defenders have been forced to play out from the back rather than hitting it long with purpose when under pressure. It’s the prime argument against Defoe’s involvement in Villas-Boas’ formation.

Aside from Defoe’s size, which he can’t do much about, there is his selfish style of play. As soon as he gets the ball his first instinct is to hit the target. Running through his brain is “how do I get this ball in the net in the quickest way possible.”

Ironically, a striker’s first thought when he’s leading the line shouldn’t be about hitting the target. It’s about bringing the midfield into to play so that the defence of the opposition can be overloaded. Crouch did it perfectly when alone up front with Van der Vaart just behind him. As limited as a player as Crouchie was for Tottenham, he understood what his role was, and how to be effective in bringing the Dutchman into the game.

Fundamentally Defoe needs to become a more intelligent player, and rely less on his instincts. Luckily for Spurs and Defoe, professional footballers tend to do this as they get older. They lose their speed, they become less agile, and their reactions fade. They have to rely on their experience to keep up with the game and the young players around them. Defoe is 30. That’s about the age when a forward’s archetypal game, one that he has had to rely on for his entire career, begins to change. In order to keep his place in the Spurs eleven and prolong his top-flight career, Defoe will need to learn how to bring other players into the game. He will need to find vision and craft, to go along with his eye for goal and shooting abilities.

If he does so not only will the latter part of his career continue to be filled with the same accolades that the earlier part has already had showered upon it, but Tottenham Hotspur will have an altogether new type of player at their disposal.

If Defoe’s game doesn’t change then it’s only a matter of time before we see him benched and ultimately moved on. This would be a massive shame given the years he’s devoted to Tottenham Hotspur.

[author name=”Flav” avatar=”https://www.thefightingcock.co.uk/forum/data/avatars/l/0/56.jpg?1349590875″ twitter=”Flav_Bateman” tag=”Flav[/linequote]

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8 Comments

  1. ChiSpur
    29/11/2012 @ 8:00 pm

    What a load of b*llocks. Jermain has always been a great and loyal player for us. 7th all-time top scorer, and still plenty left in the tank. With Bale and Lennon both playing, he’ll score bucket loads because he gets in the box. Adebayor is too slow to be our loan striker, and its him that should be replaced. I would never have taken him in the first place!

  2. ChiSpur
    29/11/2012 @ 8:01 pm

    First, btw… B*llocks

  3. cookiebun
    29/11/2012 @ 8:15 pm

    Blinkered. Defoe is what he is and he is unique at what he does. Try and change him and you will destroy his killer instinct. Agree with ChiSpur that Ade was the wrong striker to buy, as he’s too slow and AVB’s game is fast, fast, fast.

  4. spurson
    29/11/2012 @ 9:06 pm

    Ade is by far the better option for our type of play especially if we are holding on to a lead or playing away from home. With Defoe in team, the ball just gets back in to the hands of the opposition. At least with Ade, he keeps ball and brings others into play and he gets his fair share of goals. Ultimately, I believe with Parker in the team ADE and Defoe can be accomodated provided Parker is in, probably for Sandro or a back three of Vertonghen, Caulker, Kaboul with Sandro & Parker. Ade has the intelligence to play a faster game too!

  5. Keiran
    29/11/2012 @ 10:13 pm

    I sort of miss the days when a player like Jermain Defoe struggled to get a game, what with Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov both keeping him out. However, he has been a solid player over the years and I hope we see more of him for another three or four seasons to come.

  6. Guido
    30/11/2012 @ 5:13 pm

  7. jim
    04/12/2012 @ 1:36 am

    Personally I prefer the fact that we can’t just boot it long when under pressure. The other top teams in Europe don’t use this tactic why should we?

    To criticise JD is silly he is a top class forward.

  8. Spurs4life
    06/12/2012 @ 11:02 am

    ‘Ironically, a striker’s first thought when he’s leading the line shouldn’t be about hitting the target. It’s about bringing the midfield into to play so that the defence of the opposition can be overloaded’

    Football is so simple,eh? Why don’t you take over from AVB?

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