NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 279
Submitted by Norman Giller
There’s a Shakespeare quote in Hamlet – Prince of Denmark – when Polonius says: “To thine own self be true.” This could be today’s advice from Pochettino to our own Prince of Denmark, Christian Eriksen.
Rumours continue to gather pace that Eriksen is heading for Madrid, but anybody who watched his contribution as substitute in Tottenham’s season opener against newly promoted Aston Villa will vouch that he is a vital jewel in the Spurs crown.
It was only when he entered stage right in the 64th minute that Spurs began to take proper control of a match they had been dominating territorially but without a telling presence in the heavily congested last third of the pitch.
There were an abundance of holding players in the Tottenham midfield, but it was only with the arrival of the creative Eriksen that the passing became positive and productive.
Which all brings me to the Shakespeare quote: “To thine own self be true.” Christian heard the acclaim from over 57,000 Spurs spectators (there were 3,000 Villa fans in the house) as he took command of the game with his precise passes and exact positioning. Does he really want to give up his seat of power at Tottenham for the gamble of trying to conquer new fields in Spain?
Money, of course – big money – will be playing a major part in his decision, but I just hope this intelligent young man takes on board that he is cherished at the new White Hart Lane, where he can be the chief conductor rather than playing second fiddle in Madrid.
Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith records Eriksen’s intoxicating influence on the match against Villa in his match report HERE, an eyewitness account that confirms that it was the great Dane whose passes paralysed Villa, while Our Harry Kane provided the knockout drops with the first of what we hope will be many goals at the new Lane (and in August!).
It was soon after Eriksen’s entry that Tanguy Ndombele marked his satisfactory debut by cancelling out Villa’s early strike, after which they played frustrating contain-and-counter tactics that smothered the Spurs attack.
I was disheartened by the rising tide of pessimism and defeatism online as Spurs struggled to unlock the well drilled and disciplined Villa defence. This Tottenham team has character by the cartload and we now surely know you never count them out until the final whistle. Just remember that waiting in the wings are new players of the quality of Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon, and also tugging at the leash are proven class acts like Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and the suddenly jettisoned Jan Vertonghen.
Up next, Manchester City at the Etihad, Newcastle at home and then the Gooners.
As the Bard may have once said: “Life ain’t ever easy.”
Question No 2 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:
Who won two England caps, wore the No 10 shirt for Chelsea and Spurs and with which London club did he finish his playing career in 1974-75?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL2@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake. In the closing weeks of the competition I break the logjam of all-knowing Spurs-history experts with a tie-breaking poser that is based on opinion rather than fact.
All the usual suspects and many newcomers were correct with the answer to the first SOQL question of the new season: Who was born in the same E6 London postal code area as Jimmy Greaves, and against which Premier League team did he score a hat-trick for Tottenham in seven minutes in 2009? Yes, of course, Jermain Defoe, whose seven minute hat-trick came in his five-goal burst against Wigan Athletic in 2009. What odds that JD and JG would be born a few hundred yards apart in London E6?
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo, two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
You will be better informed if you buy my SHOOTING SPURS book that features every player who has scored 50 or more goals for Tottenham since the club was formed in 1862, with special in-depth features on Jimmy Greaves and Harry Kane, plus focus on exceptional managers John Cameron, Arthur Rowe, Bill Nicholson and current master, Mauricio Pochettino.
Cliff ‘159 goals’ Jones has provided the introduction, and profits go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who missed the gravy train and now have to pay medical and care bills.
It costs just £9.99 and I will send a signed copy to anybody buying direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com. There is also a screen version for £4.99.
I hope you will support this great cause.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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