The 26 yr old midfielder has struggled to gain a starting place in new look/old look Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur side with Tom Huddlestone and Wilson Palacios preferred in the central positions. Whilst Jermaine Jenas is a good footballer, with this there can be no doubt, he is consistently inconsistent. The England international with 21 caps to his name can at time be tireless in his ‘box-to-box’ play, be involved in most attacking moves and his passing ability sensational. Then he can be lacklustre, jogging around doing nothing in particular and just passing aimlessly. This drastic drop in performances that Jenas has is not only ruining his England career, but also his Spurs one.
Jenas broke onto the football scene after starting his career at Nottingham Forest, before moving for a spell at Newcastle United where in his first season was crowned PFA young player of the year. Upon a move to Tottenham, Jenas initially continued his vein of form but over the past three years his performance levels have dipped drastically. With 19 Premier League appearances this season it would appear that Jenas is gaining plenty of playing time at White Hart Lane, yet 10 of these have been from the substitute bench. Redknapp’s selection dilemma between Huddlestone, Palacios and Jenas for the central positions appears to be already settled.
‘I tried playing all three of them against Sunderland with Robbie Keane in behind them but it didn’t really work. JJ played well against Sunderland but I could only play two of them against Wigan and unfortunately he was the one to be left out’ Redknapp told the Daily Mail only two months ago. Clearly it shows Jenas is not anywhere near first choice midfielder for Tottenham.
That has been Jenas story all season; his inconsistencies have cost him his first team place. His England position should be under deep scrutiny, Jenas’s worthiness in an England side on his present form and playing time seems unjustified considering Huddlestone who has been fantastic this season for Spurs is currently not in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad. The summer could be when Tottenham decide to allow the former Newcastle United midfielder to move on with reported interest from Aston Villa and consistent rumours as to Inter Milan’s interest. Spurs have been linked with bringing in Bolton Wanderers long term target Miguel Veloso from Sporting Lisbon as a replacement. The deep lying playmaker has been tipped for a move to England for a few years but numerous clubs have been unable to agree a fee. Additionally the collapsed move for Brazilian Sandro in January could have spelt the end of Jenas’s Tottenham career as the player would have slipped down to fourth choice. With that deal falling through Jenas stayed, yet a move could be just what ‘Mr Marmite’ needs to kick start his stalling career.
With half of White Hart Lane hammering Jenas for his inconsistent displays and the other half backing him by remembering his sensational games for the Lilywhites, Jenas is at a cross roads. Does he stay and fight for his place in a Spurs side that is looking better without him, or move on to pastures new? What is for sure is Tottenham fans will be split right down the middle.