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Scott Parker won the Tottenham fans' player of the year award for his efforts in 2011-12. That summer, he represented England at the European Championships—his first major tournament.
Those combined efforts led to an unintended, though largely necessary, break. Not only to recover from an injury that cropped up, but also to allow the hard-working midfielder to rest his weary legs.
Parker himself told the London Evening Standard the time off did him some good. Physically, this may have been the case. Football-wise, not so much.
Missing the chance to work under his new manager did not aid Parker's ability to adapt to Villas-Boas' new methods. Perhaps more costly was the opportunity it cost him to jell with new arrivals he would soon be playing alongside—notably Dembele
Coming back as he did in mid-season, routines and rhythms were already established in a way they would not have been early on.
The situation was exacerbated by Sandro's injury. It forced a defensive burden on Parker and Dembele that did not sit naturally with two players who shared similar, all-action instincts.
It is hard to fault Parker asserting himself as he did, wanting to help his team by driving them forward—on occasion, that would have been welcome. Overall, though, he probably should have ceded the initiative to Dembele more often than he did.
Given a summer to work on this balance, Parker could well find an understanding with some of his newer teammates akin to what he shared with Luka Modric.
At 32, though, he is likely to find starting opportunities increasingly limited anyway. A move elsewhere might be the best option for all parties.