Van der Vaart or Defoe? This is a question many Spurs fans have been asking themselves in the midst of an attacking player dilemma. No doubt, manager Harry Redknapp will have some thinking to do before Spurs' next game against Newcastle, after the international break.
There has been a lot of talk recently about the media drama with Van der Vaart and Redknapp, and I'm certainly not the first writer to highlight this. I agree with the general consensus that most of the argument is media frenzy over a minor disagreement that we all saw coming when Defoe decided to play again. With that established, now what happens?
Despite playing virtually the same position, Defoe and VDV add their own flair to the role. Each has become successful by adding their own traits to the game. So far, this is what I can come up with.
VDV has more natural creativity and almost always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Also, there are few players that have as much skill as the Dutchman. That being said, Van der Vaart's defensive ability is awful. We all saw Arsenal's goal in the North London derby, and we all know who could've been done better to prevent it.
Lastly, VDV often falls deeper, leaving the true striker more isolated. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on the striker that is being left upfront. The rest of the team needs to be aware of this and adjust accordingly.
Defoe, on the other hand, doesn't bring as much creativity to the attack. He does play deeper as more of a supporting striker, but not as deep as Van der Vaart. Along with that, Defoe retains most of the traits of a striker, as opposed to an attacking midfielder. He's not as responsible for the buildup play and, instead, serves as a middleman between the brains, the creative midfield and the brawn—the big man up front. This is a classic strike force of big man, little man and can be very hard to stop.
Defensively, Defoe is practically world class compared to VDV. He does track back when he needs to and isn't as rash as the Dutchman. Defoe certainly has the capability to keep his head and is more coachable than his Dutch counterpart.
So, what have we learned? Well, nothing really, but we have highlighted some individual characteristics of the two frontmen. When all is said and done, there's nothing we can do about who gets to play and who doesn't. So, for now, we must be content with trusting Harry Redknapp to chose the winning team. Let's hope he does so.