Sunday, February 10, 2013

The understated contribution of Michael Dawson

After his two-goal salvo against Newcastle, Gareth Bale inevitably stole the headlines, but further down the field another hero maintained a silently successful season. Michael Dawson is the antithesis of the modern footballer; you won’t find him stumbling out of a celebrity-endorsed nightspot or mocking opposing supporters, when the opportunity for ludicrous wages presented itself Dawson left his car keys by the door and chose to fight for his place.

The likeable defender’s Spurs career was inexplicably on the rocks in August. Uber-rich QPR had a bid accepted by Daniel Levy (ever the businessman when an over-the-odds offer is received), but unlike many of his peers Dawson turned his back on the money. Professional pride and ambition, and perhaps a love of Spurs, for once trumped the lure of multiple pound signs.

The majority of the Tottenham faithful were delighted by Dawson’s extended stay. There are few defenders better suited to an aerial bombardment against the likes of Stoke or Sunderland and Dawson’s cheerful and ever-gracious demeanour has always endeared him to fans of all ages. He’s also a bloody good defender.

But this season, in the face of intense competition and an initially sceptical new manager, Dawson has risen to the challenge and added new poise to his game. And his persistence has been rewarded. The outcast is now the Spurs captain redux.

In the under-the-radar, three-month run which has seen Tottenham lose only ONE league game (in injury time at Everton), Dawson has been a constant, seizing upon Younes Kaboul’s long-term injury, veteran William Gallas’ nagging fitness concerns and the greenness of emerging hope Steven Caulker. He has been the surprise star of Spurs’ revolving backline.

The stats stack up in Dawson’s favour. Spurs have yet to lose a Premier League game when he has started (7 wins 4 draws) and his record stands at 9-4-1 in the league games where he has featured - with the lone defeat as a sub in the 10-man loss at Arsenal which inexplicably kick-started the lilywhite season. Five goals have been conceded in Dawson’s last eight starts. Who needs a striker?

Dawson’s unheralded contribution illustrates how this over-achieving Spurs team is a sum of its parts. The phenomenal Bale is rightfully receiving plaudits as a world class player, but Aaron Lennon is in the form of his career, Hugo Lloris has been nothing short of cat-like between the sticks and Mousa Dembele has consigned the deft midfield promptings of Luka Modric to memory.

But for fine goalkeeping by Tim Krul and a touch of Bale profligacy, Tottenham’s latest victory would have been far more comfortable. Despite being haemorrhaged of midfielder enforcer Sandro, stalwart Kaboul and depth in the striker department due to Jermain Defoe’s injury and Emmanuel Adebayor’s absenteeism, Spurs have a four point cushion in fourth and are competing against limitless foreign billionaires and teams of more established pedigree.

And at the foundation of this success is the unsung Michael Dawson. The troubles of Loftus Road must seem a world away.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written and well deserved.

Only a true Spurs-connoisseur would pick this moment to praise an unsung hero like Dawson.

Lennon's work rate of late is bloody incredible.

//jaxonville99

Simon Spurs said...

Lovely. I wasnt sure at the start of the season. Even without younes, Caulker came back off an outstanding season. Gallas was dependable (I know you're a fan too, LD) and verts was a big name deserving of a start. I love daws but suspected he wasn't really the answer and as a result, was not particularly fussed about losing him.. That he had the potatoes to fight back from essentially being classed as 5th choice is brilliant enough but he's playing well. Really well.

Credit must go to avb. There was a slight worry of a Harry-esque "my old woman could have scored that" proclamation, when he ranked him as a back-up player but he has allowed daws to work his way back into the team on merit and it is paying off.

A professional footballer will never be an oxymoron, as long as you have players like Mickey Dawson around.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thank you kindly, Jax. Daws well overdue the respect. And Lennon..wow. Player of the season arguably.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Simon. Some excellent points. Daws was fifth choice which makes his renaissance even more incredible. And huge credit must go to AVB...he truly holds 'no grudges' and possesses underrated man management skills.

Trevor Havard said...

Not been a fan of your blog but lived this piece well done and its great to stand up and be counted about micheal when some of his greatest detractors are spurs fans

Cusop

Anonymous said...

A point well made! I was devastated when it looked like he'd be leaving last summer, couldn't understand why we'd keep the ageing Gallas and ship out Daws? But he stayed, wanting to fight for a place and at no point slated the chairman/manager/club for trying to get shot of him. A model professional who has been rewarded for taking the harder option when he could of taken QPR's cash. Delighted for him and glad AVB has seen what an excellent defender and personality he is. Long may he continue to lead our side.

Steve Silver said...

Disappointed the LustDoctor didn't mention that the 'Daws Diagonal' is produced only when it is appropriate these days. He has improved as a player.

It would have been easy for him to pick up his keys and drive to Lofius Road, and no doubt would have been instrumental in keeping them up. I bet good ol' Harry is kicking himself.

Great blogging mate, as always.

@TheComebackYid

shuban said...

I would say right now we are more than the sum of our parts as we are playing (for Bale!) and each other...

If in the summer we can get more clinical finishing, that midfield metronome (I love Dembele but his gliding runs need a more incisive product more often), I would like to see us really challenge for third or maybe even second

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thank you, Trevor. This piece has struck a chord with many fans due to Daws' popularity. He has been a revelation this season. Possesses all the virtues one would want in a Spurs captain.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks anon. If only all footballers shared Daws' professionalism.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Steve. No Dawson related blog should be written without a mention of the 'Daws Diagonal'. Accept my apologies!

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Shuban. We are (at least) the 'sum of our parts' because Spurs are a good team and not carried by the brilliant Bale as some would have us believe. I would like a striker in the summer and a winger. Maybe a capable back-up for Sandro, too. Do Tottenham need a new right back?

Richard Havers said...

Perfectly put in every way. As I was getting frustrated with the midfield shape on Saturday I never once worried about the shape at the back.

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'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Richard. It's an overlooked fact that Spurs are not shipping goals at the moment. Dawson must take so much credit for that...

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Hail Daws indeed. I'm pleased Bale is getting so mucch attention as he truly is a special Spur and player. But equally, I'm a little annoyed that (some) critics are trying to label Spurs asa one man team.

It's a good and fast improving side, well coached by a good and fast improving coach. We can rightly be proud of them all.

I still dopn't see us hanging on to 4th, but unlike some, I won't consider 5th or 6th to be a failure.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks IKAG. Good to read your comments again. Spurs will be somewhere between 3rd and 6th - exactly where will depend on luck and injuries. The simplistic comments on Spurs being a one man team are inevitably made by simplistic people.

Kentish Maid said...

Great blog, as ever. I've been a big fan of Daws for years - after all he's the man who was at the heart of our defence alongside King Ledley during our two 5th place finishes under BMJ until injuries sidelined him for a few months, and scuppered his England chances to boot.

All credit to AVB for not only respecting Daws' decision to stay and fight for his place but, having given him the chance to do so and prove himself, has continued to play him alongside either Caulker or Vertonghen despite Gallas's return to fitness. Strikes me AVB is a man who is willing to be proved wrong and happy to acknowledge it.

I am always cheered to see Daws' smiling face in the tunnel as he prepares to lead the team out - and having learned at the feet of the master he's a worthy successor to Ledley King.

Long may he continue to serve our club with the distinction he currently does.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Kentish. I think Daws' reintegration into the team speaks volumes for AVB's man-management and ability to change his mind on players. For me, Daws is currently first choice at centre-half. My favoured full strength back four would be: Assou-Ekotto - Vertonghen - Dawson - Kaboul.