Michael Dawson has endured a difficult start to the season at Tottenham and now having made it into the team is facing a couple of weeks out following his hamstring injury against Fulham. Throughout Dawson’s eight years with Spurs, injury has come along at the most inopportune times for the central defender who has taken over as captain since the retirement of Ledley King.
Dawson is a whole-hearted defender who has always been fully committed in a Spurs’ shirt. He knows no other way to play and has always been a credit to Tottenham Hotspur and was voted the supporters ‘Player of the Year’ in 2010 as Spurs reached the Champions League for the first time. He has made over 250 appearances for Spurs but during the summer, the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas appeared to signal the end of his association with the club. It seemed that Dawson didn’t fit into the new Coach’s plans and although he had been named captain, interest from Queen’s Park Rangers was encouraged and Dawson reluctantly had discussions with the west London club. Protracted negotiations took place but agreement couldn’t be reached and on 1st September, Dawson was still a player at White Hart Lane.
Dawson, however, faced a monumental challenge at White Hart Lane as he had slipped down the pecking order for central defenders. Even the injury to Younes Kaboul didn’t help the situation with Dawson omitted from the match day squad for the opening matches of the season. Now behind Kaboul, William Gallas, Jan Vertonghen and Steven Caulker, it was clear that Dawson was not included in Villas-Boas’ plans. Dawson stayed quiet but vowed to prove that he still had a place at the club.
He finally made it onto the substitutes bench for the away match at Reading in mid-September but it was the end of the month before he made it onto the pitch in a Premier League game, coming on as a 90th minute replacement for Jermain Defoe as Spurs held on for their win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. He had captained the side in the Capital One Cup match at Carlisle in midweek and started the Europa League match in Greece. His headed goal put Spurs ahead late in the first half, although they were denied a win when Panathinaikos scored a late equaliser. Back to the bench for Premier League games, Dawson was restricted to substitute appearances, some Europa League matches and the League Cup defeat at Norwich. It wasn’t until late November and the home match against West Ham that Dawson started his first Premier League match of the season. He retained his place against Liverpool and Fulham but after 17 minutes at Craven Cottage had to go off injured. Just as he was getting the opportunity to impress the manager, injury struck him down once again.
When asked after the west Ham game about interest from Queen’s Park Rangers, Dawson demonstrated his determination to succeed at Tottenham.
“I’m at Tottenham. I played against West Ham and it was a great feeling to get three points. I want to be playing, it’s hard when you’re not. You’ve got to keep your head down, work hard and when your chance comes you’ve got to go out and perform.”
Andre Villas-Boas praised the defender saying, “He was immense. The competition is extremely difficult but he has great commitment.”
Prebviously, Dawson has also suffered injury at unfortunate times.
February, 2008: Dawson Misses Carling Cup Final
Having helped Spurs reach the Final against Chelsea, appearing in four of the five games on the road to Wembley, including the famous 5-1 semi-final victory over Arsenal at White Hart Lane, Dawson cruelly missed out on the Final through injury. Two weeks before the match, he sustained an injury early in the League game at Derby County and was sidelined for a month. As the team celebrated their stirring extra time victory over Chelsea, Dawson showed his character and his pleasure at his colleagues’ and the club’s success as he watched from the side-lines with a great smile, obviously enjoying the moment and not being overwhelmed by his own sense of disappointment at not being in the team that day.
September, 2010: Injured Playing for England
Dawson had waited patiently for some considerable time to get his chance to play for England. He had accompanied the squad to the World Cup in South Africa but didn’t make his debut until the following August against Hungary. Retained for the opening Euro 2012 qualifying game against Bulgaria at Wembley, Dawson was ensuring England held their advantage but just before the hour as he went into a tackle he fell awkwardly and seriously injured his knee. It was immediately obvious to everyone that his injury was serious as the medical staff rushed to his aid. He departed the Wembley pitch on a stretcher in obvious pain. He was out until December when he returned to play out the rest of the season and win another two England caps.
Injury Stricken 2011-12 Season
Having started the season in the team, Dawson suffered an Achilles injury at beginning of September which kept him out of the team until the FA Cup at the beginning of January. He then sustained a ruptured ankle ligament injury in the 5th Round replay against Stevenage and missed the remainder of the season. Injury had restricted him to only 13 appearances during the season.
Loftus Road Bound?
Michael Dawson had no desire to leave Tottenham during the summer and was determined to fight his way back into the team. Having achieved that, it will be a great disappointment to him to have again been struck down by injury when the opportunity of first team football presented itself. His absence should be only brief on this occasion but with Harry Redknapp having taken control at Loftus Road and in need of reliable, fully committed defenders, will he come looking to White Hart Lane in an attempt to sign Dawson? I hope that Dawson will remain with Spurs as his experience and commitment could be very valuable to Villas-Boas in the latter half of the season.