Pochettino springs a surprise

Kaboul as captain

Tottenham’s announcement yesterday evening that Younes Kaboul would be the new Spurs captain caught many by surprise.

The general consensus seemed to be that it was a toss up between Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen, with some outside bets on Federico Fazio – always an incredibly unlikely option. Pochettino did give us some big clues. Kaboul has captained the team on all five occasions he’s played this year, including all four league games.

The big Frenchman wouldn’t have been my first choice. He doesn’t seem an obvious leader but then I’ve never been in the Tottenham dressing room. Pochettino has obviously seen something in him from watching the team dynamic on and off the pitch.

There are some obvious reasons to pick Kaboul:

  • He’s a senior player, who despite serious injury problems and a two year break at Portsmouth, has made 100 appearances for Tottenham.
  • He’s a centre back, which certainly seems a popular position for captains. It’s a great place to watch the game develop and it’s reasonably central to the action, unlike say the goalkeeper.
  • Organising the back four is probably the most “captaining” a team needs these days.
  • He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to give up or not put the effort in.

On the negative side:

  • He hasn’t been in great form this season. I certainly haven’t been impressed and there’s a case to be made against him for many of the goals we’ve conceded. With Fazio and Dier joining the club, it looked like his days as a starter were numbered.
  • He has well documented injury problems, which you always get the feeling might come back.
  • He only has one year left on his contract and could leave the club next summer.

I suppose the question is, does a captain have to start? Ledley King certainly spent a lot of time leading the team from the sideline. Lloris, many people’s favourite, has been made a vice-captain which means he can fill in when Kaboul isn’t on the pitch.

Arguably an even bigger surprise is the appointment of Adebayor as a vice-captain. You wouldn’t have got many bets on that before the announcement was made. Maybe this is a clever mind game to get Adebayor on-side and motivate him. Or could it be that Pochettino has taken to the big man from Togo?

Probably the biggest loser in all of this is Jan Vertonghen. A captain at Ajax, he looked a certainty for at least a vice-captain’s role.

Follow me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs

Would you have picked Kaboul for captain? Has Adebayor earnt his vice-captaincy? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Pochettino springs a surprise

  1. OC7

    I thought I would have liked Vertonghen to be made skipper, but then I thought again and in my opinion he was very lacklustre last season. Although he is comfortably our best defender in terms of ability I don’t think he offered as much in drive, motivation and leadership as in his first season… when we concede a sloppy goal I want to see a captain geeing-up, motivating, inspiring the rest of the team, not just shrugging their shoulders and saying “oh well I guess that’s the game now” as JV so often seemed to do last season.

    Looking at pictures from Arsenal’s beating in Dortmund last night you could see genuine pain and anguish on the face of even the usually timid Mertesacker.

    I don’t remember the last time I saw someone in a Spurs shirt that upset about conceding/losing. Did last season’s hammerings instill a apathetic losing mentality in the squad?

    Unfortunately there isn’t really a single member of the squad with a never say die attitude, and Kaboul is probably the closest to the desired “warrior” mentality. As much as we all dislike John Terry, Roy Keane etc., you can’t dispute their records as leaders.

    Spurs are too nice for their own good.

    1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

      That’s right. I was a bit disappointed when I first heard it was Kaboul. Then I thought about the alternatives and I realised all would have been disappointing. Maybe behind the scenes Kaboul is more of a leader than he appears?

      Perhaps Fazio or Stambouli are leadership material but obviously it would be too soon to appoint them.

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