Football’s a team game and it’s the strength of a team as a unit that makes them a good side. Tottenham Hotspur currently possess a very strong first team where you’d be hard pressed to find a weak link. However, teams generally revolve around certain players more than others and thus the credit isn’t shared out evenly. If the media were to believed then Spurs’ success so far this season is down to two attacking players: Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe. There’s no doubt that the England duo are extremely important to the club’s fortunes – Defoe’s the goalscorer and Lennon’s the ridiculously fast winger who’s got over his original lack of an end product to become pretty damn deadly. But there’s a man I value for the team higher than either of these men and that man is Wilson Palacios.
Palacios is a gentlemen of a footballer – his attitude’s great, he’s gracious and very hardworking and seems an altogether good guy. The Honduran is a now rare commodity – the box-to-box midfielder who powers across the pitch constantly to be involved in both attacking and defending. The box-to-box midfielder may be rare but they’re extremely useful and definitely worth having. Palacios is everything Spurs need for the middle of the pitch – solid defensively but willing and able to join attacks, although he does act more defensively due to the attacking natures of the midfield partners he’s given. It’s notable that Spurs were doing pretty poorly prior to his arrival and their fortunes changed drastically once he’d arrived from Wigan.
Thing is; as good as Lennon and Defoe are – both are replaceable. Defoe’s a very good striker but strikers are a common commodity and there are always free scoring strikers to be had out there. If Defoe left and was properly replaced then there’d be no issue. Likewise, fast wingers are quite common – Lennon’s remarkably fast and one of the best wingers out there in my opinion but I wouldn’t say he’s irreplaceable. Palacios on the other hand? There’s not many out there in his mould – none come to mind immediately.
Palacios ability to do pretty much everything in midfield has allowed Tom Huddlestone to develop his game to the degree that he’s now effectively a midfield playmaker thanks to his range of passing. Spurs’ being linked to signing a new defensive midfielder is not to replace Palacios but to switch between partnering him and providing cover for him and, if partnered with Palacios, would lessen the burden on his defensive role.
I wouldn’t say that Palacios is devoid of credit because a lot of people have taken note since his move from Wigan and prior to his move to White Hart Lane he was linked with a number of major clubs from across Europe but Palacios is rarely singled out for praise for Spurs’ form like Defoe and Lennon are. Don’t get me wrong, I rate Defoe and Lennon very highly but they’re far less important than the media would make out – Palacios on the other hand is a bit special.
The fans who watch him regularly love him because of all he contributes and he’s one player who doesn’t seem to divide opinions. Whereas some out there would claim Huddlestone’s not good enough, I’ve never seen anyone say such about Palacios; the man is a midfield dynamo and a gem of a player. £10 million is looking like something of a bargain now just because of how good Palacios actually is. Despite the fact that he hasn’t been at his best recently I would go as far as saying he’s Tottenham’s most important player and, given the competition, that’s high praise.
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