Given Tottenham Hotspur’s defensive issues over the course of the season, it is a surprise to have not seen summer signing Joe Rodon more often.
The 23-year-old has struggled for game time since his £11m move from Championship outfit Swansea City, but against Aston Villa on Sunday evening, he delivered a major statement over his credentials – right in front of Jose Mourinho.
Indeed, the Welsh international has been restricted to just 11 appearances in all competitions, of which only five have been starts in the Premier League, via Transfermarkt.
Rodon was also left out of their Europa League squad registration, so he really has been playing third or fourth choice at times to the likes of Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld.
Individual errors at the back have been persistent, with the former two often the frequent protagonists – as ex-Spurs midfielder Jamie O’Hara angrily told talkSPORT last month, the pairing of Dier and Sanchez is “one of the worst” in the English top-flight and even went as far as suggesting to “get rid” of them.
Thursday night’s embarrassment, which saw the duo alongside each other again, was evidently the last straw. Having leaked three goals, the Englishman was axed for the rarely-seen colossus. And he certainly made a point.
With plenty to prove, Rodon was amongst Spurs’ best performers, as he helped contribute towards a clean sheet. In fact, SofaScore graded him as the best defender on the pitch with a 7.5 rating – only ‘Man of the Match’ Lucas Moura (7.9), Tanguy Ndombele (7.7) and the goalscoring Harry Kane (7.6) were rated higher.
The 6 foot 4 monster was immensely strong in his duels, winning 75% of them, both in the air and on the ground. Only Ndombele had a better return in that sense, as per SofaScore.
In addition to that, Rodon made three clearances, two interceptions, one block and one tackle – this pretty much shows how solid he was defensive. The clearances and interceptions prove he knew what to do at the right time, and could read the opposition’s gameplan well enough to thwart it, whilst the block and the tackle show he wasn’t afraid to get stuck in to stop it from happening, too.
Great to see Rodon and Tanganga staking a claim as well. #THFC
— Jonathan Veal (@jonathandveal83) March 21, 2021
Dan Kilpatrick at the Evening Standard was left in awe by his display, he wrote in his post-match ratings column: ‘In the right place to clear Trezeguet’s shot from danger during a good Villa spell and looked composed on his first appearance since January.’
That is never normally a word you’d associate with either Dier or Sanchez, so that’s a vast improvement in itself.
That only really raises further question marks as to why he’s not been playing, as the evidence above surely makes him seem like a dream for the Spurs boss right now.
Rodon couldn’t have really done much more to prove his worth to Mourinho, but he has not made that crucial statement to suggest he is the answer right now.
Unfortunately, the international break probably comes at the worst time for him, but after that dominating and resolute display, it would be a farce to see him dropped for their trip to Newcastle in two weeks time.