Much has been said of the improvements made by Maurico Pochettino’s Tottenham this season, with particular praise falling upon the Lilywhite’s continually impressive defensive displays. Following the club’s most recent match – a 2-1 victory over title rivals Manchester City – the Argentine’s side boast the Premier League’s most impenetrable back-four, having conceded a mere 20 goals.
This impressive run at the back has been led by a number of outstanding individual performances, including those from the likes of Danny Rose, who played a key role in the club’s triumph at the Etihad. Once seen as a mere squad player by the majority of Premier League viewers, the pacey full-back has come into his own within Mauricio Pochettino’s demanding system at White Hart Lane.
Rose has appeared in just 14 of Spurs’ 26 games, having seen his campaign disrupted by various illnesses and injuries. Nonetheless, when he has featured for the Lilywhites, his performances have caught the eye of many spectators. Having seen his displays improve drastically towards the tail end of the previous campaign, the Englishman has successfully carried his form into the 2015/16 season. When fit, this has enabled him to reclaim his place in Pochettino’s starting XI from Wales international Ben Davies.
Rose started the tie against Manchester City full of energy, proving too much to cope with down the left flank throughout much of the first-half. Not only did he contribute in an attacking capacity with six crosses in the opening 45 minutes – one of which proved decisive in winning Tottenham a penalty – he also completed two dribbles in advanced positions, while proving accurate in an impressive 91% of his total attempted passes.
The second period saw a different side to the 25-year-old’s game, and as City looked to hit back following Harry Kane’s successful strike from the spot, Rose was forced to adopt a more defensive-minded approach. Indeed, while his early forays in the final third will have pleased the Tottenham faithful, it was his aptitude at the back that made him so integral in this famous victory for Pochettino’s side.
Threatened by the creative talents of City’s £50million ‘wonderkid’ Raheem Sterling, Rose emerged largely undeterred. Allowed to make just two key passes and attempt two snapshots in 90 minutes, a 21-year-old Sterling will have left the pitch very disappointed with his contribution in the final third, and this was largely due to the presence of his compatriot and potential Three Lion team-mate.
Come the final whistle, Rose had successfully blocked two City attempts at goal, while weighing in with two interceptions, two tackles and four clearances from deep inside the Tottenham half, the latter of which all came within the second period as Spurs looked to relieve the ever-increasing Manchester City pressure. Fatigue had evidently kicked in by this stage, but it didn’t prevent Rose from fulfilling his defensive duties.
Despite an increased emphasis on his responsibilities in the back-four, this was by no means the end to his attempts in the final third, although, as the statistics reflect, his quality in possession began to deteriorate as the match progressed. The second period saw him complete a somewhat disappointing 72% of his passes, while he was fashioned a further two crosses from the edge of the box.
Rose’s latest display, alongside his performances prior to this tie at the Etihad, will surely have thrown him into contention for a starting place in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad. With Spurs flying high in the Premier League, and few of his potential rivals for the position particularity standing out, the former Leeds United full-back is in perhaps the perfect position as the highly-anticipated summer tournament draws closer.
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