Future Tottenham Success Will Depend On Keeping Squad Together

Chris PotterCorrespondent IApril 21, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24:  Gareth Bale of Tottenham in action during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 5th round replay match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers at White Hart Lane on February 24, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur players head into Saturday's trip to Old Trafford to face champions Manchester United full of confidence having beaten title hopefuls Arsenal and Chelsea in succession.

A third incredible win would surely make the Spurs favourites to finish the season in fourth place. A loss would mean that the team's return to the Northwest to face Manchester City would effectively be a showdown for fourth.

While for the first half of the season it was Tottenham's forwards whose goals fuelled the team's success, lately other players have stepped up and made telling contributions.

Despite Jermain Defoe suffering an injury and a subsequent loss of form, Robbie Keane being loaned to Celtic, and Aaron Lennon, Ledley King and Jonathon Woodgate being sidelined through injury, Tottenham has built up considerable momentum in the last two months, with 21 points from eight matches.

Last week, in front of Fabio Capello, Tom Huddlestone and Michael Dawson showed commendable skill and poise to dominate their battles in the centre of the pitch against world class opposition.

Last weekend Huddlestone, together with Luka Modric, outpassed and outfought a Chelsea midfield trio which included Frank Lampard and Champions League winner Deco.

Dawson proved more than a match for lethal duo Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, with the Chelsea strikers firing a blank.

Both are making strong cases for inclusion in England's final 2010 FIFA World Cup squad.

Luka Modric has also attracted much praise for his performances from his manager Harry Redknapp, who suggested that the Croat playmaker, "Could play for any team in the world."

However, the real star of the show has been 21—year—old Welsh winger Gareth Bale, who Spurs signed for £8 million in May 2007. Bale has come of age since Benoit Assou—Ekotto's injury gave him the chance to shine.

His energy, skill and excellent deliveries from both left back and left midfield have proved highly problematic for opposition defenders this year. This was especially evident against Chelsea in the 67th minute.

Bale has also added important goals to his armoury. His cool finishes against both Arsenal and Chelsea provided Tottenham with an important cushion in each game and ultimately proved match—winners.

Lastly, Aaron Lennon—despite having missed half of the season—has proved that he is one of Tottenham's "go to" players. He has the pace and skill to terrify even the most experienced and composed defenders in the game.

If Lennon can finally overcome his persistent groin problem he will push James Milner for the starting berth on the right side of England's midfield. Like Bale, his delivery has improved immeasurably. Lennon now also seems to be a more intelligent and mature footballer, knowing where he should be when and what his role is within the team.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, it will be vital to Tottenham's progress that Harry Redknapp can persuade these five key players to remain at White Hart Lane and continue the excellent progress they have made this season towards breaking the monopoly of the Top Four.

The club has already announced the extension of Dawson, Huddlestone and Lennon's contracts. Bale and Modric in particular will be in high demand this summer, with Manchester United and Inter Milan showing interest in both players.

With the transfer of Internacional's Brazilian international midfielder Sandro already complete, it is now time for Tottenham's board to focus its attention on the current squad. In the past, the club has lost ground by having to sell key players such as Dimitar Berbatov, Sol Campbell and Michael Carrick. Daniel Levy will do everything he can to ensure that this does not happen this summer with the class of 2010.