Have Tottenham found the man to dethrone the King?

Tottenham Defender Younes KaboulSecond chances are at a premium in the cut-throat world of professional football, so Younes Kaboul should count himself lucky. Heavily criticised during his first spell at Tottenham Hotspur, Kaboul returned to White Hart Lane in January 2010 with Harry Redknapp expressing at the time that he had “improved since we took him to Portsmouth” adding that Kaboul’s “concentration levels are certainly getting better”.

Kaboul’s concentration levels were once again on Redknapp’s mind after Saturday’s draw against Everton, with the Tottenham manager stating to Sky Sports that, “he lacks concentration at times”. However, Redknapp then qualified this by adding that Kaboul has “got everything to be an outstanding player” citing his pace, athleticism, passing and aerial ability amongst other attributes. High praise from a man who clearly thinks a lot of the French centre-back, having signed him from Spurs for Portsmouth in August 2008 before taking him back to White Hart Lane with him earlier this year. Kaboul evidently has a lot of potential, with Redknapp acknowledging on Kaboul’s return to Tottenham that the Frenchman, “technically developed late”, but is he good enough to solve the north London clubs defensive problems?

With Spurs attempting to compete on two fronts this season, the inevitable injuries have begun to pile up, with centre-backs Michael Dawson, Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King missing for the 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday, and with Woodgate being a long-term absentee and King blighted by injury, is Kaboul the man to step up to the plate for Tottenham?

Kaboul performed ably against Everton at the weekend, and alongside William Gallas in central defence the pair rarely looked troubled by the Merseysiders. However, it was Kaboul’s foul on Yakubu that led to the Everton goal, and although the award of a free-kick by referee Mike Jones seemed harsh, Spurs were made to pay, and this is perhaps what Redknapp means when he discusses the defender’s lack of concentration.

With the north London outfit competing at the highest level this season, they can ill-afford mistakes of that nature, and although Spurs would ideally like to have King and Dawson performing week in week out for the club, this is a reality which is not easily attainable, and it is here, somewhere between idealism and realism, that Kaboul steps in.

The Frenchman has returned a far more mature player than the one that left White Hart Lane in 2008 and is an accomplished deputy to the more senior centre-backs at Spurs. Considering also that he hadn’t played first-team football in around a month, Kaboul settled nicely into the action on Saturday.

Although Kaboul will never take the crown from King in most Spurs fans eyes, the Frenchman may prove invaluable for the busy season ahead, and with youth on his side, the 24 year-old may well also prove to be a sound investment for the future of the north London club.

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