Tottenham Hotspur's 4 Most Underrated Players
There is no doubting that Tottenham’s fine season has been fueled by their superstars.
Welsh winger Gareth Bale has been scoring goals like they're going out of style, netting an incredible percentage of the club’s goals over the past few months to push them into third place in the league.
Meanwhile, defender Jan Vertonghen has been getting some recognition, anchoring the defense and even contributing to Spurs’ attack.
In the midfield, Mousa Dembele’s abilities have been acknowledged by the general public, as the Belgian has performed remarkably throughout the season.
However, there are many unsung heroes at White Hart Lane that have the club flying high this season.
Perhaps they aren’t the flashiest or the quickest, but their contributions have been vital to Tottenham’s success.
In honor of these overlooked grafters, here’s a list of the four most underrated Spurs players this season.
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After injuries destroyed his last few campaigns, Michael Dawson’s career at White Hart Lane looked all but finished at the start of the season.
Just days after manager Andre Villas-Boas named Dawson his captain, rumors swirled that the defender was on his way to QPR (h/t the Mirror).
However, the English defender has salvaged his career at Tottenham over the past few months, winning back his spot as central defender and captaining the side regularly.
The stunning turnaround is made even more astounding when one looks at his performances, as the 29-year-old has looked like he's back at his best before injury.
One needs look no further than Spurs’ win over Arsenal a few weeks ago to see the defender's contributions, where Dawson’s performance at the back was man-of-the-match quality.
Dawson may slip under the radar outside of White Hart Lane, but the Englishman has been a vital contributor throughout Tottenham’s season.
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It is very easy to overlook Kyle Naughton’s contribution to Tottenham this season.
After all, having the full-back in the lineup has seemed like a drop from the usual pair of Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Walker.
However, the Englishman has provided depth at a position where it was desperately needed.
When Assou-Ekotto was sidelined with injury, Naughton performed admirably in his stead despite playing on his disfavored left side. This was quite a welcome sight to Spurs, as manager Andre Villas-Boas even tried putting Gareth Bale at left-back despite his vast quality in attack.
While the Cameroonian has returned and taken his spot back over the past few months, Naughton’s contribution over the early part of the season should not be forgotten.
Naughton’s play took a bad situation and made it as manageable as possible.
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Over the first few months of the Premier League season, Scott Parker became a forgotten man at Tottenham.
The defensive midfielder was out for an extended period of time due to injury, leaving the door open for Sandro to establish himself at Parker’s position.
Just as Parker was returning to training, though, Sandro went down with a knee injury and opened the door for Parker to reclaim his spot.
While the experienced midfielder has played well throughout the past few months, the general feeling around the club is that the Englishman’s spot in the starting XI may vanish when Sandro returns from injury next season.
Still, Parker has been improving leaps and bounds over the past few months, even approaching the level of play that he was experiencing last year.
The 32-year-old may not be the long-term solution at his position given his main competition, Sandro, being 23, but Parker’s contributions this year should not be overlooked.
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Over the past few weeks, Jermain Defoe has been catching a lot of grief from Tottenham supporters, and rightly so.
After all, the Englishman’s return from injury has been going quite poorly, including that ridiculous back-pass that cost Spurs the decisive goal in their 3-2 loss to Liverpool Sunday.
However, to deride the striker is to overlook all of the contributions he has made this season.
Defoe is second in goal-scoring for Tottenham this season, managing 14 goals in all competitions.
In fact, with Emmanuel Adebayor completely out of form for almost the entire season, Defoe has carried the load at striker for Spurs.
Jermain’s four goals in the first five Premier League matches this season kept the club afloat.
Now, one certainly hopes that Tottenham add more options up front before next season and that the club stops relying so heavily on Defoe.
Still, it would be a disservice to overlook the Englishman’s contributions to the club at the start of this season.
Perhaps Jermain Defoe shouldn’t last too much longer at White Hart Lane, but he deserves some credit for his performances this season.