Why Aaron Lennon the Most Underrated Player in the Premier League

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterOctober 9, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07:  Aaron Lennon of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on October 7, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The discussion with regard to who is the most underrated player in the English Premier League happens every season and it usually involves players who everyone already rates.

It has to be said, however, that Aaron Lennon rarely gets the credit he deserves.

A two-year hiatus from the England setup since the 2010 World Cup has finally ended after Roy Hodgson awarded him with a place in his latest squad, but it's nothing more than a chance to prove himself—not a certification of his talent.

The football he has played over the last six months merits an unquestioned call up to the national side who are foolishly continuing with the overrated Theo Walcott.

Spurs' threats

When you think of Tottenham Hotspurs' greatest attacking threats, you think of the fleet-footed Gareth Bale, the razor-sharp Jermain Defoe and the playmaking ability of Moussa Dembele.

It's rare, nowadays at least, that many pay too much attention to Aaron Lennon. But why? He had a good season last year, performed well and has even improved under Andre Villas-Boas.

He scored his first goal of the season against Aston Villa at the weekend and it appears the new boss likes what he sees. Harry Redknapp used the winger sparingly, recording just half the appearances Gareth Bale did over the course of the 2011/12 season.

But already, Lennon is neck and neck with the Welshman after starting the first seven games of the season. With confidence, form and a run of games, it's no wonder he's received a call up from Hodgson and things will only get better.

Wide threats

Here's a statistical comparison between Spurs' three genuine, out-and-out wide threats. It's interesting to see how the English winger stands up against his team mates who, to be fair, bettered his exploits last season.

*League onlyKey Passes (p/g)Pass Success (%)GoalsAssists
Gareth Bale2.9*77.82*1
Aaron Lennon2.790.2*11
Kyle Walker1.683.901

The most noticeable thing about his game is that his passing has improved.

There have been times over the last few years when Lennon has reached the edge of the penalty box, opted not to cross and pass inside. Those passes were disappointing and wasteful at first, but his game in that area of the pitch has really come on.

 He's tied for assists with Bale and Kyle Walker and incredibly close to Bale's excellent 2.9 key passes per game. With two wingers so skilled and creating so much, it's no wonder Spurs are flying in the league right now.




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