Mauricio Pochettino faces something of a selection dilemma this weekend ahead of Tottenham’s clash with Manchester United.
The Argentine regularly rotates his full-backs, but he’d be best advised to stick with Danny Rose over Ben Davies this weekend after the England international made a strong return to form against Chelsea.
Rose has been in and out of the Tottenham team this season, making 11 appearances compared to Davies’ 16 in the league.
Rose has seen his game time significantly limited due to a groin injury that kept him out of five successive league encounters.
But the Englishman is a better attacking option, and a quicker defender.
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In fewer games, Rose has laid on two assists while Davies has yet to create a league goal. And the former’s performance against Chelsea in midweek suggests he is back to his best.
Despite having their backs pinned firmly against the wall, Tottenham kept a clean sheet and emerged from a scrappy game with a vital 1-0 first leg semi-final lead.
The 28-year-old performed admirably against the largely unheralded Callum Hudson-Odoi on the left flank, not allowing the youngster to push past him, and marginalising him to the point of substitution, as Olivier Giroud was thrown on by Maurizio Sarri in a bid to salvage the game.
United’s weakest position in attack is on the right flank.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has fielded Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata twice each in the position in his first four league games, and stuck with the Spaniard for the FA Cup clash with Reading.
Neither offer the searing pace of Marcus Rashford, who will either play through the middle or on the left, nor the brutish aggression of Romelu Lukaku.
Rose, then, should be able to nullify either of them and, crucially, then press forward in search of attacking options.
For as good as Davies is defensively – he enjoyed a renaissance at centre-back earlier this season due to a spate of injuries – he appears afraid of pushing too high up the pitch.
With this weekend’s clash likely to be settled by fine margins, having Rose as an attacking weapon could be all the difference for Tottenham.