Aaron Lennon was praised by his manager, Andre Villas-Boas, following Tottenham’s 3 – 1 win over Reading at White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day. The win was Tottenham’s seventh success in nine Premier League games and Lennon was at the heart of the victory. He proved a handful for the experienced Reading full-back, Ian Harte, with his jinxing runs and crossing which caused problems for the defence throughout the game.
Villas-Boas singled Lennon out after the win against Reading. He told BBC Sport,
“Aaron Lennon is such a magnificent player and sometimes he does not get the recognition he deserves but his form has been extraordinary. He has been magnificent for us, scoring goals like last week, and is such a good player.”
With Gareth Bale suspended for the Reading game, there was concern over who might provide the creativity and threat that Bale usually gives from the left but Lennon stepped up to the mark. It was from the corner awarded when Federici touched his dangerous cross over the bar that Michael Dawson headed Tottenham’s equaliser after 10 minutes. Lennon continued to threaten every time he had the ball and early in the second half his cross from the right was headed home by Emmanuel Adebayor to put Spurs ahead.
Speaking to Sky Sports, AVB said,
“He has been massive. Sometimes he lives a little bit in the shadows, he recognises he can be at another level in terms of his performances. He has been tremendous for us, not only creating but scoring too. It is creating within himself a winning mentality for Tottenham.”
Lennon’s display against Reading was not an ‘out-of-the-blue’ occurrence, it was simply a continuation of where he had left off at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and previous displays through the season. Lennon was very lively against Sunderland and was fouled in the build up to the equaliser and then scored the winner three minutes later as Tottenham recovered from being a goal down at the interval. His goal came as he ran towards the area, the ball flicked off a defender but came back to him to continue towards goal and strike it past the goalkeeper.
Lennon’s Precious Goals
While Lennon is not a renowned goal scorer and some are critical that he doesn’t score more goals, when through on goal he can be very cool and clinical. He has scored a number of match winning goals late on in games for which Spurs have been extremely grateful. His goal at the Stadium of Light extended his record of Tottenham not having lost when he has been one of the goal scorers. Lennon’s 28 goals have brought Tottenham 24 wins and 3 draws (He scored twice in one match).
No-one can forget his goal against Chelsea in November, 2006 at White Hart Lane which brought an end to Spurs’ losing sequence against the west London club. Equally memorable was his last minute goal at the Emirates as Spurs recovered from 2 – 4 down to draw 4 – 4 in November, 2008. His winning goal at West Ham in August, 2009 was followed by an added time winner against Birmingham City a week later and he also scored the late winner against Liverpool at White Hart Lane in November, 2010.
Aaron Lennon joined Tottenham for £1 million from Leeds United in June, 2005 at a time when the Yorkshire club’s financial situation required them to raise funds as quickly as possible. He was 18 years of age and made his debut the following August. His first goal was in a 2 – 0 win at Birmingham City in March, 2006, the start of his winning run. He has been a regular member of the Tottenham team ever since but at times lacked consistency and was troubled by niggling injuries and it usually took him some time to rediscover his form after such absences. He made his England debut in 2006 and made 19 appearances up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He was then left out for the next two years until recalled by Roy Hodgson this season.
While it is for his runs down the wing and crosses into the area that Lennon is noted, he also works very hard for the team and gets back to support his full-back and takes his share of defensive responsibilities on the right hand side of the pitch, tracking back to cover if Walker has pushed forward. He had a good working relationship with Vedran Corluka who frequently played him in behind the defence with a simple pass and he is now working well with Kyle Walker who is a different style of player, looking to use his pace to get down the wing as well. In the second half against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, Lennon moved infield to leave space for Walker’s pace on the wing. Lennon is also a threat when he swaps wings with Bale, cutting in to shoot with his right foot.
This season Lennon has matured as a player under Andre Villas-Boas and has shown much greater consistency in his performances with many impressive displays. You see him during a break in the game having a discussion with his manager, taking advice and learning as he continues to develop his game.
On Twitter, Michael Bridge tweeted, “Another superb performance from Aaron Lennon today. Head Coach AVB has taken him to another level. #THFC
Aaron Lennon has been part of Tottenham’s development over the past number of years. When he is at his best, so usually are Spurs. Lennon and Bale are the two most dangerous wide players in the Premier League and there is no greater sight than them both playing well in a match – Bale in full flight and Lennon scampering down the wing teasing defenders into a tackle only to discover he’s past them and onto the next one. Full-backs can get no relief from them and even when harshly treated by opposing players, Lennon bounces up to get on with the game. He has been one of the success stories of Villas-Boas’ six months at White Hart Lane and thoroughly deserving of the praise being bestowed on him.