For this series of Premier League Years XIs, I will be putting together Fantasy XIs for each club. The simple rule is that the players will be judged only on their performances for their club during the Premier League years, so if their best football came before the competition they will not be considered.
Spurs have had a wealth of talent pass through the doors at White Heart Lane during the Premier League years with the best period of sustained competitiveness coming recently after many years of mid table malaise. This team would be very easy on the eye as is to be expected of Spurs.
Robinson was the England number one whilst at Spurs and was the keeper in the Spurs side which first started to consistently compete for a top 4 spot. He made 137 appearances in the league for the club and even managed to score a goal.
Carr was a very solid and long-serving right back for Spurs. Solid in defence and more than capable when he scuttled forward with his uniquely inelegant running style, Carr was popular for his whole-hearted style. He was a home grown product who improved year on year.
It’s easy to get lost in the controversy of Campbell’s departure from Spurs to Arsenal just how good he was for Tottenham. If anything, the fact that he was so good and home-grown made him even more disliked. They hated him so much because they loved him so much. Campbell burst into the team as an 18-year old and was immediately able to impose himself through physical presence, pace and power. A superb defender in his prime, it would have been interesting to see him partner Ledley King for longer.
The third home-grown member of this defence and perhaps the most frustrating. Despite his injury problems, King racked up 268 league appearances for Spurs, and when he played was one of the top defenders in the country. The issue for King was too many injuries and Spurs fans lament that they didn’t see him in his pomp for any extended period. Smooth and elegant on the ball, enough so that he also played in midfield at times, as well as physically gifted, King had it all.
Assou-Ekotto has been maligned at times, but after a sluggish start has matured in to one of the better left-backs in the league. He cost only £3.5m from Lens, but initially didn’t excel. However, the arrival of Harry Redknapp infused him with confidence and he was one of the few defenders who has handled Ronaldo with any accomplishment.
Another who was bothered by injury, but Anderton made 299 appearances for Spurs in the league. A very under-appreciated player, perhaps because he wasn’t the toughest, but his tactical and footballing intelligence shouldn’t be underestimated. He was a key man at Euro ’96 and World Cup ’98 under Venables and Hoddle, two Spurs alumni who are regarded as the top tactical English brains of recent years. He had goals and flair and could make all kinds of good things happen.
Modric is perhaps the most sumptuously gifted technician Spurs have had. He arrived after a spectacular showing at Euro 2008 and immediately thrived. He tempo dictation was exemplary and he had a full range of short, intermediate and long range passing. He was impossible to shake off the ball at times despite his skinny physique and his flair has been missed this year.
Bale is the best player the club have had in the Premier League and one of their best ever. He arrived as an 18-year old left back and is now behind only Messi and Ronaldo as a rampaging forward. His dribbling at speed is quicker than most players can go without the ball and his ball striking is phenomenal. Bale scores goals, makes goals and causes carnage in full flight.
Spurs’ top Premier League scorer with 98 goals, Sheringham was an inspired signing in the first few days of the Premier League. His game was much more about brains than physicality but he was always in the right place, one step ahead of the game, and this allowed him to both score and make a tremendous number of goals.
He only stayed for one season in 1994, but what an impact he made. Klinsmann was one of the first properly world class overseas imports in the Premier League, and he dominated the league. He scored 21 goals in a team that wasn’t especially good and did so in any manner of spectacular ways. His movement and finishing was unparalleled, and his knack of always being in a position to score goals was superb. He came back for an important loan spell in 1997 and scored 9 in 15 games.
Like many in this team, Keane played with his brain rather than physical gifts. Keane was a gliding and crafty player who operated best in pockets behind the forward line but was also a good finisher. He was plucked off the sinking Leeds ship and was a key man in the Spurs side under Jol which first brought the team back to the fore. Tricky and awkward, he was also very popular.
Subs: Ian Walker, Dawson, Calderwood, Lennon, Carrick, Berbatov, FerdinandPublished 10 Apr 2013, 15:52 IST