Football is a strange game sometimes. It’s amazing how the fortunes of one side or one particular individual can take such different directions in just a couple of months. Michael Dawson is the perfect example of that. Think back to last summer, Dawson’s Spurs career looked over with Andre Villas-Boas deeming the defender surplus to requirements.
QPR saw the 29-year-old as the ideal man to plug the leaky hole in their defence and Mark Hughes made a £9 million offer for his services, a bid that was accepted by Tottenham. Hughes fancied combining Dawson and Ricardo Carvalho as a centre back pairing for the R’s and you can wager your bottom dollar that they wouldn’t find themselves in the relegation mire had those moves happened.
Dawson, in fact, chose to stay at White Hart Lane to win over Villas-Boas and prove he was worthy of his first team slot. How he’s done that! The club captain re-established himself in the first team after Christmas and he hasn’t looked back since. Dawson lead Spurs into battle in Basle during their Europa League quarter final, though he was unable to inspire the side to their first European semi final in 29 years after they lost on penalties. However, the league will now be the priority as Dawson looks to rally the troops to help Spurs fire back into action to fight for those all-important Champions League slots.
Hard work was the key for Dawson’s return to the Tottenham side, indeed his discipline in fighting back, consistently putting in the effort on the training ground and keeping himself in Villas-Boas’s attentions is an example that should be noted by every professional footballer. Too many Premier League players throw their toys out of the pram at the first sign of trouble, should they be dropped from the squad or refused a move elsewhere. While QPR battened down the hatches to keep Peter Odemwingie out of Loftus Road in January, they must have been devastated that the portcullis didn’t open in the summer to allow Dawson through, a potential knight in shining armour.
Villas-Boas must have thanked his lucky stars that Dawson chose to stay in North London after the boss lost first choice defender Younes Kaboul to a serious injury. The Frenchman was expected to form a centre back partnership with new signing Jan Vertonghen with William Gallas and Steven Caulker providing alternative options, though Dawson has now slotted in alongside the Belgian as Tottenham’s trusty defensive rock.
Roy Hodgson was so impressed with Dawson’s form, he wasted no time in handing the defender a recall to the international scene, though his last cap came in a World Cup qualifier back in 2011 against Wales. He missed out through injury in the end, but many fancied the Spurs defender to make the first team considering Hodgson’s injury crisis in Montenegro. From being on the verge of a move to lowly QPR to an England return, that’s almost Lazarus standards.
The fact remains that Dawson has shown nothing but dedication and consistency ever since his switch to White Hart Lane from Nottingham Forest in 2005. He’s played 28 times in all competitions this season and Villas-Boas must wish his players showed the same fight and desire that Dawson has displayed in 2012/13. Spurs are in danger of producing their usual end of season slump that would cost them dear again. They need to roll up their sleeves and start winning again, so expect Dawson to be at the forefront of a late season surge of form.
Written by Tom Mordey.