Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lennon comes of age

There are always games that stick in our memories due to particularly strong/weak performances of individual players. Occasionally there are also the games that are career changing for one of the players involved - I really think we may have witnessed that last night.

Before I go on, let me just share a vague memory I have from primary school. I always used to play football in the playground with friends before school started. I was always Gazza and others would pretend to be the likes of Robson, Lineker, McClair, Beardsley, etc. One morning in about 1989 or 1990, no-one would let me 'be' Gazza as he'd just played a blinding game for England the night before and everyone wanted to be him... since I wasn't the best player I wasn't allowed to be (believe me that was so unfair)! But I also remember England's performance the night before (we beat a European team - it was either Albania or Czechoslovakia I think). Gazza played so well, setting up goals and scoring one himself. Forget some of his Italia 90 performances or the Scotland match in Euro 96 - his best performance, in my opinion, wearing the Three Lions was in that pre World Cup game in the 1989-90 season.

Unfortunately we no longer have Gascoigne at the Lane, but we do have Aaron Lennon. And like that England match years ago when other people suddenly started taking Gascoigne more seriously (well my school friends did anyway), I think Aaron woke up this morning in the knowledge that he's a man not a boy! Last night we witnessed his 'coming of age' match.

In my humble opinion, his performance last night (especially in the first half) showed a new side to his game that we don't see a great deal of. He was selfless. He chased every ball. He jumped for every header. He made tackles you would never normally have expected him to make. He was simply superb. Along with the usual bursts of speed and clever dribbling, I was suitably impressed with him. Sure there's still work to do on his final ball and keeping possession, but he's a joy to watch.

Whether it was the disappointment of losing to Newcastle, or the fact that he's finally feeling fit again since his lay-off, or maybe the sub-standard opposition we faced - whatever it was he was brilliant and confirmed what a great future he has ahead of him.

Despite the odd rumour linking him with a move to Chelski or ManUre, I hope (and think) he'll be around at Spurs for years to come. What with him and Huddlestone in midfield, you could potentially see a future England side comprising Robbo, Ledley, Daws, Huddlestone, Lennon and JD. What a testament to our transfer policy of buying great young Englishmen...

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