Stepping out of the shadow at Tottenham at just the right time

Tottenham midfielder Niko KranjcarI know it’s a cliché, but it’s funny how things work out in football sometimes isn’t it? Just ask Niko Kranjcar. Last month he could have been forgiven for thinking he was being hung-out to dry at Tottenham. Harry Redknapp signed Steven Pienaar, failed to bring in Charlie Adam yet rejected bids for his seemingly out of favour Croatian playmaker. Fast-forward a couple of weeks and now it seems Spurs’ hopes of remaining in a top four spot come the end of the season, rest on the shoulders of the forgotten man.

His timing couldn’t have been any better really. Injuries to Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart had Redknapp scratching his head a little going into the last two games. But six points from six could have quite easily been a lot less than that had Kranjcar not been on the pitch. It looks as though Bale will be missing for the Champions League clash with AC Milan this week, but should the other two return, it will be interesting to see what Harry does with Kranjcar.

By his own admissions, the Croat could have left in the transfer window, had a good enough offer been tabled. It surprises me that clubs like Aston Villa and Liverpool spent so long pursing Charlie Adam when he was never really available and just as good an option was sat waiting to be given a chance of first team football.

But as it stands, Kranjcar remains a Spurs player and it would seem his loyalty has been rewarded with a bit of luck, and a run of games. No one ever doubted his ability, and against Sunderland it didn’t look like that was only his second Premier League start this season. The 26-year-old has emerged out of the shadows of Bale and co to provide his manager with a little reminder than he is still very much an option despite the plethora of midfielders he has at the club.

Kranjcar has been unlucky to miss out so much this season, but his recent performances won’t have done him any harm either way you look at it. Once the big guns are back, if Redknapp continues to use him sparingly, or not at all, then he has placed himself into the shop window for other clubs to have a good look at. Alternatively, he could now become an important player in Spurs’ run in. They are still keeping up with the pace-setters and given Chelsea’s unpredictable form, they have every chance in beating them to fourth place.

Only time will tell if the Croat is cast aside again once Bale and Van der Vaart return, but if that is the case, then it will be Tottenham’s loss. The man who could well have rescued their season over the past couple of weeks, would be a welcome addition to any other club.

Food for thought, Harry.

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