They say that every cloud has a silver lining and that’s definitely been the case at Tottenham this season. Spurs have a wealth of central defensive talent in the form of Sebastien Bassong, Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King, yet the latter two have been beset by injury once again. However, this has allowed for the impressive Michael Dawson to stake his claim at the heart of Tottenham’s defence and he has given plenty of stability to Spurs’ back line. Dawson has been a shining light at White Hart Lane this season and he looks difficult to shift from the starting line-up. So with the injury problems faced by his teammates, should Redknapp install Dawson as his first choice centre half to give Spurs some much needed consistency?
The arrival of Bassong from Newcastle in the summer saw Dawson slip down the pecking order at Spurs to become their fourth choice centre back, but that is far from the case for the former Nottingham Forest defender now. Dawson has made the most of the injuries suffered by King and Woodgate to cement his place in the side and has even had the privilege of wearing the captain’s armband this season. Spurs manager Harry Redknapp certainly appreciates Dawson’s performances thus far in the Premier League and is looking no further than him in terms of defensive positions at the current time.
Redknapp is quoted in The Sun saying “the way Dawson is playing, I could not leave him out of the team. He has gone from virtually being fourth choice to someone who deserves to start every match.” Redknapp’s feelings were reflected by the fact that it was Bassong and not Dawson who made way for the returning King against West Ham today, a decision that should give the 26 year old plenty of confidence. The decision also indicates that Redknapp rates Dawson highly and recognises the advantages brought by consistency of selection. So surely Dawson can bank on an extended run in the first team in a near future, which can only be good news for the player and Tottenham.
Michael Dawson’s attributes are well-documented and Redknapp isn’t afraid to build up his defensive qualities. Harry further stated that “he’s wholehearted, great in the air, a proper centre-half. He’ll go through a brick wall for you.” Now, following Dawson’s excellent performances in recent outings, he has a pretty much guaranteed starting spot at Tottenham in which he can continue to show that he is the player around whom Spurs’ defence should be built. If Dawson can stay fit he should play a string of games for Tottenham this season as Redknapp will not want to break up a back four that is consistently winning clean sheets. That will leave Woodgate and Bassong kicking their heels, but does Dawson deserve to have faith placed in him?
It isn’t a coincidence that Tottenham have picked up clean sheets and won matches when they have shown a consistency in team selection. Michael Dawson is among those who have benefited and his performances have more than earned him a starting spot in defence. Rumours of a move to Sunderland have now fallen flat on their face as Redknapp sees Dawson as a key first team player, and an extended run in the Spurs starting eleven could even see him make England’s World Cup squad. And now is the time for Dawson to be handed that starting birth on a regular basis to give Tottenham the consistency and stability that can only bring them success on the pitch.