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Spurs Odyssey:Season Review 2007-2008(4) - The Midfield

Paul Smith, the webmaster of Spurs Odyssey has once again been selected to provide player profiles for the Professional Footballers' Association Annual "Who's Who" Directory. Published in time for the start of each new season, the directory gives an account regarding all players for the 92 league clubs who have made at least one full or substitute appearance in any official competitive game during the preceding season.

Paul has written the profiles for all 30 Spurs players who fulfil the necessary criteria, and has been given permission to reproduce them here.

This item deals with the 10 midfielders who have played for Spurs this season:-

Didier Zokora has played a full part in Spursí season, taking part in 43 games in all. Zokora remains a first choice for The Ivory Coast and played in all 6 of their games in the African Cup of Nations, where they reached the third place play-off final. Zokora has 55 caps and has never scored for his country, and has yet to score for Spurs! Didier has played not only in his primary defensive midfield slot, but also in every position across the back four for his club, all to good effect. He is a swift and tenacious defender, with good heading abilities too. Didierís form for his club improved as the season progressed, and he never lost his enthusiasm after the Carling Cup Final, when many of his colleagues played with less commitment. Didier is a good passer of the ball, and makes plenty of runs into opposition territory, but the only goal he has scored in Spurs colours was a successful penalty in the shoot-out against PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Cup.

Teemu Tainio. Once again, frequent injury has restricted Teemu Tainioís ability to play for Tottenham Hotspur. Teemu has played a part in 26 of Spursí games this season, and won a Carling Cup Winnerís medal from the bench against Chelsea. Teemu has been required to play across the midfield, either in an offensive or defensive role, and also at right and left back. Teemu continues to be a very useful squad member, but has not scored for his club this season. With Tainio behind him in the midfield, some of Jermaine Jenasís best performances were seen. Teemu was often a part of successful substitution strategies by Juande Ramos, and his ability to play in so many positions to good effect helped that process. Teemu continues to represent Finland, and has scored once for his country this year.

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Jermaine Jenas, who is still only 25, continues to be a mainstay of the Spurs team, and has served as such under both Martin Jol and Juande Ramos. Jenas has suffered one or two injuries during the season, but has played a part in 45 Spursí games this season. Jermaine has scored 6 goals in all competitions, the most memorable being at home and away against Arsenal in Spursí Carling Cup semi-final victory. Such was Jenasís form during this period that the new England coach gave him a start in the friendly game against Switzerland. Jermaine still makes the England squad regularly, but of course has great competition for a midfield place. Jenasís athleticism and speed is a big part of his game, and he often makes vital contributions at either end of the pitch. After winning a Carling Cup winnerís medal, Jenasís form seemed to dip somewhat, but this was a trait amongst several team colleagues.

Steed Malbranque. The Spurs midfielder has played in more games than any other squad member this season. Steed started no less than 52 games and was used as substitute in three further matches. Steed is widely recognised as one of the hardest working players in the squad, but his game is about more than pure work. Steed has scored 7 goals in all competitions including the 90th minute goal that sealed Spurs 5-1 win over near rivals Arsenal to get to the Carling Cup Final. Steed was a member of the Carling Cup Final side. Steed has played predominantly on the left flank, but often gets a free role across the midfield area. He is a determined ball-winner, often coming to the rescue of his defence, and also a perceptive passer of the ball over short distances. Steed remains a great favourite of the fans, and will surely remain a vital part of next seasonís Spurs squad.

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Kevin Prince Boateng. The 21 year old German midfielder was signed in the summer of 2007 but only made one start for Spurs under the leadership of Martin Jol. That was in an academic UEFA Cup game in Cyprus, when Spurs were already 6-1 up. Kevin was reputably also chased by Juande Ramos, when at Sevilla, and under Ramosís management, he has made a further 9 starts and 12 substitute appearances for Spurs. Kevin has yet to make a real impact though, and has also not yet scored. He is a combative and powerful central midfielder, but his last start was against Sunderland in January.

Adel Taarabt. Adel has yet to make his full Spurs debut, and this season has been restricted to 10 appearances off the bench. Adel prefers to play on the left of centre or left side of midfield. His skill is there for all to see, as he loves to run at and pass defending players. Whilst he has often starred at reserve level, Adel has the ability to thrill and frustrate his team-mates and the fans, as he still needs to find the right balance between using his flair and releasing the ball at the right time.

Wayne Routledge. Spurs signed right winger Wayne in 2005, but he spent most of his Spurs career as a loan player elsewhere. Wayne took part in just two of Spurs early games this season, and then spent his time in the Reserve team squad. He was transferred to Aston Villa in January 2008, but has so far only played 4 minutes of football for his new club.

Tom Huddlestone. Spurs and England under-21 midfielder Tom Huddlestone was subject to a widely-reported story to the effect that new coach Juande Ramos had ordered him to lose about a stone in weight. Tom was absent from the team for a while, but clearly responded well, and once he won his place back in the Spurs squad in December, he continued to play a full part in the season, winning a Carling Cup winnerís medal off the bench. Tom is a magnificent passer of the ball, even from distance, and has opened up defences on many occasions with his precision. His height perhaps prevents Tom being quite so impactive in the midfield where other attributes are required such as consistent ball-winning, pace and quick turning ability. Tom is also able to cover at centre-back, but has primarily played from the midfield this season, including his England under-21 appearances. Tom was selected by Fabio Capello for his 30 man full England squad for the two end of season friendlies, and has scored 5 goals for club and country this season.

Jamie OíHara. Spurs midfielder Jamie OíHara was rated by Martin Jol, but never quite made it to the first team, having been loaned out in recent seasons to Chesterfield and early this season to Millwall. Jamie has come through the Spurs Academy where he has played since the age of 16. It has been a marvellous season for Jamie, who won the Young Player of the Season award, and the Spurs Trustís Breakthrough award. Given his debut by Juande Ramos, Jamie made an immediate impact from the bench at Portsmouth, where he played a key part in the winning goal. Jamie then also came off the bench to good effect in the Carling Cup game at Manchester City, and started the Premier League game at Arsenal (where he started his career). Jamie is a left-footed midfielder, with good dead ball abilities. He has been utilised on the left and centre of midfield, but also at left back. In that position (with Malbranqueís assistance) Jamie did a great job in the first half of an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford against the world-class Cristiano Ronaldo, but his best performances have been in the midfield. Jamie scored two goals in his 25 games for Spurs, and was unlucky not to be selected for the Carling Cup Final. He was rewarded though at the end of the season with a new three year contract, and appears to have a great future at White Hart Lane. Jamieís achievements were capped by England under-21 recognition against Poland and Wales.

Aaron Lennon. Under the management of Juande Ramos at Spurs, there has been more to Aaron Lennonís game than pure wing play. Whilst he remains one of the fastest players around, and an exciting wing player, who can feature on the right or left of the field, Aaron has been required to track back more under Ramosís guidance, and has been known to be the last line of defence in one goal-line clearance! Aaron has suffered minor in juries at the wrong time and therefore not necessarily continued his full England career, but he was assured of such a future in the Spring, when he was asked to play in the under-21ís vital game against the Republic of Ireland. Aaron has scored three times this season, and he knows that better finishing and a more consistent end product with his passes and crosses is sought next season.

The next instalment of profiles will cover the Spurs Strikers.

Season Review (1) - Form Guide

Season Review (2) - The Goalkeepers

Season Review (3) - The Defenders

Season Review (5) - The Strikers

Season Review (6) - Re-live the Carling Cup Final!

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