Tottenham Hotspur To Benefit From Shambolic England World Cup Exit
Following Holland's shocking 2-1 quarterfinal comeback victory against World Cup favourites Brazil this afternoon, Tottenham's participation has ended in this year's tournament.
The London club started the tournament with 10 representatives among five national squads. Half of these players travelled with high hopes on the England squad.
But, despite striker Jermain Defoe (pictured above) squeezing the Three Lions through to the round of 16 with a close-range strike against Slovenia, an abject 4-1 defeat to Germany meant an early flight back to London for Defoe and his Spurs teammates Peter Crouch, Michael Dawson, Ledley King, and Aaron Lennon.
While it is unlikely that skipper King will be present in Brazil in 2014, the other four players will now have an opportunity to stake their claim for a place in the side. And they'll be buoyed by news that Fabio Capello is looking to inject "new energy" into an ageing and under-performing squad.
For other than Lennon and Defoe, with two starts each, none was able to prove his worth in South Africa. Dawson was called up in place of captain Rio Ferdinand, but did not see any action. Crouch, despite his impressive record of one goal every two games for his country, played fewer than 20 minutes.
It is likely that this limited action for the White Hart Lane players was due more to Capello's reluctance to blood untried players in pressurized situations, rather than due to the players' inability to impress the Italian in either of the pre-tournament friendlies, or in their training session at the Royal Bafokeng sports complex in Rustenberg.
Wilson Palacios failed to impose himself on midfield opponents for Honduras, as his side crashed out in the group stages. And Cameroon duo Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastien Bassong did not cover themselves in glory for Paul Le Guen's Indomitable Lions, as Cameroon lost all three of their Group E matches.
Heurelho Gomes, despite impressing in goal for Brazil in the lead up to the tournament, was duly replaced by number one Julio Cesar.
Outcast Mexican winger Giovani Dos Santos was the one player who showed his quality on the world's biggest football stage.
The left-footer did not trouble the scorers during his four appearances but he, alongside Manchester United-bound Javier Hernandez, was one of Mexico's two outstanding players.
Dos Santos has failed to settle in England following his 2008 move from Barcelona, but the 21 year-old showed BBC pundit Harry Redknapp that he would be foolish to discard such a precocious talent too readily.
So what does this all mean for Tottenham?
While England's abysmal performances will likely have a psychological impact on the Tottenham quintet, each footballer will now have more than a month to put the nightmare behind them and concentrate on their club's exciting 2010-11 Premier League campaign.
They will also feel that they may be absolved of much of the blame, which instead will be proportioned more to veteran leaders Gerrard, Lampard, and Terry and striker Wayne Rooney, all of whom had the perfect international stage on which to prove that they could replicate their stunning club form.
Assou-Ekotto, Bassong, and Palacios will know that, while their league performances helped their club finish in a record-high fourth place last season, they will need to find another level of quality in order to stave off competition from teammates.
Palacios, in particular, cannot rest on his laurels, with Brazilian international midfield Sandro Ranieri joining the squad, from Internacional, in August.
For Gomes and Dos Santos, however, the two-week experience will have been memorable and vital for their confidence and self-esteem.
Gomes should be assured the goalkeeper's jersey on his return to England later this month, while Dos Santos will know that either manager Redknapp will finally let him loose to terrify Premier League defenders or, if not, there will be a host of English, European, and Latin American clubs fighting to secure his signature for next term.
The club should also benefit from the tournament insofar as the players who have completed a full English season have not completed many games in June, and have not had the chance to impress bigger clubs who may otherwise have been interested in snatching them away from Tottenham in big-money deals.
It is also good news for Spurs that Croatia was so poor in its Euro qualifying group. Although midfield star Luka Modric has recently signed a five-year contract, he and the likes of fellow compatriots and Spurs teammates Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar would surely have displayed their composure and skill during a tournament in which so many others seemed to forget how to pass a football.
Lastly, the FA's announcement that it has put its faith in Capello's ability to engineer England success will reassure fans and chairman Daniel Levy that Harry Redknapp will not be summoned to end 44 years of hurt.
So onwards and upwards for the club's talented mix of young England aspirers and seasoned international players. A new season awaits.
I, for one, can't wait to see a team play again with the freedom and intuition which England sorely lacked this summer.
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