Dedicated to Dele
Spurs don’t play for a couple of days so its a bit early for the pre match bloeug and with so many great comments post match on the last bloeug it hardly seemed worth recapping the foxes game, though an away victory against recent Premier League Champs and nouveaux bitter rivals surely does deserve some crowing by the Cockerel that out foxed the foxes.
However today’s offering is dedicated to Dele to mark the occasion of his fiftieth (yes 50th) goal for the mighty Totteringhams of Hotspurland. He’s the best player called Jermaine that we’ve had at Spurs since…. well he’s the best player called Jermaine we had and we’ve had some good runs and some not so good!
One of the greatest managers of all time (well certainly recent time) Sir Alex Ferguson said of Dele, in March 2016 and I quote:
“He is probably the best young midfielder I have seen in many years, probably going back as far as Gascoigne”
and more recently he reiterated his point by saying,
“This guy can be one of the best midfielders in Europe”,
I believe SAF had a good eye for young talent and his opinion on such matters should be highly valued.
The story of Dele as it is unfolding before our very eyes bares testimony to SAF’s prophecy. The landmark fiftieth goal in not much over 100 starts for Spurs speaks for itself in terms of goal scoring prowess but I think there is so much more to this young man than goal scoring.
Yesterday for example in the absence of Eriksen I watched as Dele produced a command performance. He seemed to take on more responsibility for bringing teammates into play, more passing and less flicks (though his little cameo in the box where he tricked his way through the foxes defense was sublime). Similarly against MK Dons when he was given the armband he produced a more mature performance than usual. In fact I think his trajectory has been toward more solid team play than previous seasons, hard graft as well as fancy footwork.
The game against Chelsea was a masterclass of man marking one of the best passers of the ball out of the game. It will hardly show up in stats and isn’t what he is known for but it was a huge part of why we won and something none of us (to my knowledge) had ever expected from him based on our comments and banter.
He is fast becoming a team leader and I think that shows more when he is the main man. Without Kane and Eriksen yesterday, Dele stepped up, showed leadership and maturity, took responsibility and was in my mind the key difference maker. He still was able to showcase some of his outrageous abilities, he still scored, he still made a number of penetrating darts into the box but in addition he involved his teammates more than usual and drove the side forward, in my opinion it was a more rounded performance than normal and more productive.
I love his attitude, I love that he cried in the locker room when he got sent off, I love some of his quotes, especially about competitiveness:
“I’d love to play for Spurs and play at White Hart Lane. It won’t be easy, and I’ll have fight for my place in the team, but I’ll work hard to do that”
“I have always had confidence in my ability; I knew I’d get a chance coming here. That’s one of the main reasons why I signed for Tottenham”.
“Steven Gerrard was someone I looked up to massively. I’d always try to copy him, right down to the boots he was wearing. It was his attitude on the pitch that stood out – you could really see how much he hated losing”
“Do you need an aggressive streak to thrive? You could say that. A lot of the great players have that mentality”.
“I’m not going to lie: I’m a competitive player. I think there’s no point playing football if you’re not competitive and you don’t want to win games”.
“Aggression is something that is a part of me, and I’m never going to take that out of my game”.
“I have made a few mistakes with my temper, I know. But I have learned from that”.
Of course its not all about aggression and competitiveness:
“I like to enjoy the game and to have fun and express myself as much as I can”
Sure we missed CE’s vision and range of incisive passing to a certain extent yesterday, and boy would I hate to see him leave, but in Dele I see a creative successor and/or complement to CE and as Dele’s game evolves and if the unthinkable should happen that CE decides the lure of the Spanish lucre is just too much to resist I think Dele will be able to fill the void.
A final thought: My daughter was a little disappointed in me, when I went to Wembley last month because I was supposed to take a sign saying ‘Dele, please marry my daughter’. She doesn’t know much about football other than:
Spurs are the greatest team in the world,
Harry Kane #10 the greatest striker on Earth plays for Spurs and England,
Son – he’s so cute he always looks happy,
Harry Winks he’s cute too, and
Dele – he’s my boyfriend, he just doesn’t know it yet.
What else does she need to know? What more does a father need to teach his girl?!