Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Christian Eriksen Central To Post-Sherwood Spurs

I think we all wanted Tim Sherwood to succeed at Spurs didn’t we?  What a shame it already looks doomed to failure.
Of the many mistakes he’s made since taking over; not seeing the point in holding midfielders, trying in vain to bring the gilet back, not standing by the side of the pitch when his team are losing, the worst must surely be shunting Christian Eriksen to the left.
Eriksen’s one of those players that it takes a while to appreciate just how good they are.  At first glance he doesn’t seem to have much that sets him apart, he’s not especially quick, isn’t that impressive physically and while technically accomplished isn’t hold your breath skilful.  What he does do better than almost anyone in his position is more often than not make the right decision.
The young Dane has been unquestionably the best signing of the seven brought in with the Gareth Bale money.  Even out on the left he’s been decent enough.  When he’s had his chance at ten either earlier in the season under AVB or on the odd occasion under Sherwood he at times has looked far and away Tottenham’s best player.  At 22 already with Champions League and International experience it’s frightening how good he could be.
He sums up a kind of Northern European footballing excellence does Christian, a no nonsense get the ball and pass it the place it most needs to go type of playmaker.  The importance of putting the ball where it most needs to go has been drilled into him from an early age, possibly as a result of the same type of futuristic advanced training area used by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (which given that his footballing education was spent at Ajax can’t be too far away from reality).  At his best he takes the team where they need to go.
All of which makes you wonder why Sherwood is sticking him out of the on the left.  He’s not been doing too badly there (although he’s been caught out defensively a couple of times) it’s just that his potential to influence games has been so diminished.  When Tim took over and implemented a back to basics up and at them 4-4-2 it made sense to fit him in there, with two strikers already reducing control in midfield there’s no way you would get away with allowing him to drift.  Now though Spurs are set up in a formation with Erikson’s ideal position and still marginalising him.
And it’s not even as if the guy picked as a ten in his place is doing a decent job.  As a winger Nacer Chadli looks decent.  With a free role behind a striker he more often than not looks out of his depth.  Given the obviousness of swapping them I can only guess that this is Sherwood’s attempt at leftfield tactical flamboyance.  It’s enough to make you wonder just what game he’s watching from the stands.

This is just the most obvious part of Sherwood’s increasingly public breakdown.  White Hart Lane is increasingly looking like the setting for a recreation of Falling Down with Tim instead of Michael Douglas.  As shouts at everyone who’ll listen about how his players have lost their passion and that he’s been overcharged for a can of coke he must be aware that somewhere over his shoulder Daniel Levy is emailing Louie Van Gaal and telling him the job’s his if he wants it.  You’d have to think that the first thing he’d do when he takes over is put Eriksen back in the centre.

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