Euro 2012: 16 teams from every corner of Europe competing for the ultimate prize in Football. Well, after the World Cup of course…and the Champions League…and Domestic Trophies. It seems that after the craziest season ever in English Football, the much maligned European Championships is about as desiring as Alex McLeish and his exciting brand of football. With most International players finishing a 40+ game season, it seems foolish to expect them to be at their best for a tournament that has lost its importance in recent years, especially for England after the disaster of 2008.
Tottenham Hotspur therefore, can be delighted that Younes Kaboul and Kyle Walker will miss the tournament through knee and toe injuries respectively. Of course, the omission of Walker from the England Euro 2012 squad will not help in Ukraine, especially with Glen Johnson having no cover at right back but for selfish reasons, Harry Redknapp and the Spurs faithful will be considering the injuries a blessing in disguise.
Firstly, the omission of both Kaboul and Walker from their respective countries squads allows the Spurs defenders to rest up. With the PFA Young Player of the Year playing an impressive 48 games in all competitions this season and Younes Kaboul playing 41, the two will now have the chance to recuperate and gather their energy levels, whilst others play another month of fast-paced competitive football. Younes Kaboul’s injury is a recurrence of a past knee problem. If chosen in his national Squad, the situation with the Frenchman’s injury could be aggravated and become reminiscent of Tottenham’s ‘man with one knee’ Ledley King. By staying at home and working through their injuries, Kaboul and Walker will be raring to go at the start of next season.
The European Championships is a platform for all players to put themselves in the shop window. With the whole of the continent watching, young talents have the chance to show their talents and raise their profiles with some of the bigger European clubs. Tottenham fans are aware of the abilities of Walker and Kaboul, especially this season where both players have stepped out of the shadows and become regulars in North London. If their performances for their countries match their performances during the regular season, then bids from the ‘Elite’ clubs would undoubtedly come flooding in. Spurs can now sit back and relax in the knowledge that two of their brightest stars will not be able to parade their abilities in front of the cameras again this season.
It could be argued that playing in an International tournament can be detrimental to the development of a player. The flak that England’s players received when returning home from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, was brutal. Although the tournament was a shambles and we were lucky to even escape our easy group, the players did not deserve the negative press that they received when returning to England. If a similar problem arises in this tournament and England once again fail to deliver, the squad will face a barrage of abuse from fans and media alike. For a young player like Kyle Walker, this negativity would deter him from his confidence and his form for Tottenham would distinguish as a result. Younes Kaboul would also have been in a similar position should he have made the French Squad. Les Blues were the only team in the 2010 World Cup that made England’s campaign look successful. Failure to qualify from their group, followed by divides between ethnicities at their training camps and bust ups between Captain Patrice Evra and Coach Raymond Domenech, made South Africa 2010, France’s worst ever International tournament. Although a change of coach has seen an improvement in the fortunes of the men from across the channel, the expectation of their supporters are as demanding as England’s. Should the squad implode as it did two years ago, Younes Kaboul would return to London downbeat and drained.
Whilst everyone in the country will enjoy watching the European Championships this Summer, Tottenham fans will have the biggest smiles, knowing that two of their form players are recuperating from injury and will return next season with their energy levels at maximum.