Why Kyle Walker Risks Being on the Tottenham Scrapheap Like Benoit Assou-Ekotto

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Why Kyle Walker Risks Being on the Tottenham Scrapheap Like Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kyle Walker was caught inhaling nitrous oxide earlier this year but won't face disciplinary action, announced the FA. Walker risks being on the Spurs scrapheap like Queens Park Rangers loanee Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

You should be disgusted Walker dared to even take nitrous oxide—are you buying the fake outrage? 

Whenever the media wants you to believe their narrative, word association is important in dressing up a story. 

Laughing gas sounds innocent but if you change it to hippy crack like The Daily Star, it implies Walker is partaking in an act which is perilous, detestable and illegal.

You can't describe nitrous oxide in those words with a straight face. 

If you've ever been to the dentist, you've taken hippy crack.

Your mum may have used hippy crack to help ease the pain of bringing you into the world. 

Excoriating Walker over hippy crack, a legal and innocuous substance which won't affect him provided he isn't abusing it, is as sanctimonious as Helen Lovejoy.

Does he deserve criticism from this much ado about nothing scandal?

Yes, for being daft as a brush in getting his club embroiled in a PR nightmare. 

Walker isn't a squad player at a League Two team. 

He's the 2012 PFA Young Player of the Year and the starting right-back for a significant London-based Premier League club.

If Walker desperately craves temporary giggles, do it behind closed doors where it has no chance of spreading to social media thus giving the anti-Tottenham brigade ammunition to denigrate the club. 

Perception is reality and unfortunately the ignorant will run with this laughing gas story despite it having no validity.

So, why exactly will Walker potentially end up in a similar position as Assou-Ekotto down the line?

The Cameroonian international is free-spirited, out of left-field, the embodiment of YOLO and has been frank about his low football IQ. 

"Two or three years ago, Rafael van der Vaart was at the training ground and I said 'Hello' but didn't know he was Rafael van der Vaart," said Assou-Ekotto, via Sky Sports.

Assou-Ekotto admitted he had no clue who Paulinho was despite the Brazilian receiving the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Bronze Ball. 

David Hytner at The Guardian obtained several brilliant, insightful but honest to a fault quotes from Assou-Ekotto such as "I don't say that I hate football but it's not my passion" and when pressed on UEFA Champions League football, "It would be just another set of games."

Assou-Ekotto is diametrically opposed to the meticulously studious Andre Villas-Boas, whose football knowledge at 17 years of age was so impressive that the late Sir Bobby Robson set up Villas-Boas' coaching career.

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The flip-side is him overcomplicating things as recounted in former Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher's book Magical: A Life In Football, via Jason Mellor at The Telegraph

Mickey Walsh, an old playing colleague of mine, got in touch with me to describe Andre as being a real up and coming hot prospect.

He sent a very detailed and lengthy application for the job. His CV and powerpoint presentation were amazing.

Even by today's standards there was some complicated stuff in it, with some things that I didn't understand. The language and jargon of football gets worse by the day. Villas-Boas uses a lot of it.

Would Burnley players have understood what he wanted if he'd told them to 'solidificate'?

With hindsight, we might have appointed him, but at the time it would just have been too big a risk.

Alas for Assou-Ekotto, Villas-Boas isn't Harry Redknapp.

"He doesn't care if I smile or if I know who the next team we play is," Assou-Ekotto said of Redknappboth have reunited at QPRvia David Hytner at The Guardian. "He [Redknapp] is straightforward and he doesn't play games."

For Villas-Boas to ditch Assou-Ekotto, even with a shaky starting left-back in Danny Rose, a backup in Kyle Naughton who's swapping and changing from right to left and an untested rookie in Zeki Fryers, suggests the Portuguese manager doesn't want players of Assou-Ekotto's mentality. 

Sure, Assou-Ekotto's defending was shoddy at times, but it's not like his predecessor was Paolo Maldini.

Some of the left-backs pre-Assou-Ekotto were beyond woeful: Ben Thatcher, Gilberto, Paolo Tramezzani and Timothee Atouba spring to mind.

Assou-Ekotto never lived by the primary lesson Villas-Boas took away from Robson: "If you are in love with what you do, you're able to achieve great things."

This is why Walker is one major mistake away from being ostracised by Villas-Boas—rest assured, that won't be a laughing matter. 

 

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