Michael Dawson has worked very hard this season to prove his point. During the summer, after Andre Villas-Boas’ appointment as Tottenham manager, it appeared that Dawson would be leaving White Hart Lane to move across London to Queen’s Park Rangers. The manager with a surplus of central defenders was clearly prepared to allow Dawson to leave. Fans felt somewhat bemused as only a short time previously, Villas-Boas had named Dawson as the Tottenham captain in place of the retired Ledley King.
Dawson was reluctant to leave White Hart Lane where he had made almost 250 appearances since his transfer from Nottingham Forest in January, 2005. The defender was a favourite with supporters for his total commitment and whole-hearted displays for Spurs which had earned him the ‘Player of the Year’ award in 2009-10. The new season started with Dawson not included in the squad for the opening matches but as August came to a close, Dawson remained with Spurs.
Through the early part of the season, Dawson was very much a reserve but by mid-September, he had made it onto the substitutes’ bench for the game at Reading. His first game was the Capital One Cup game at Carlisle where he captained a young team and he followed this with a goal in the Europa League game in Greece against Panathinaikos. He started in the Cup defeat at Norwich and the home win over Maribor and made it off the bench for the two League defeats against Manchester City and Arsenal. He helped to steady a rocking ship at the Emirates and started his first League match of the season in the next game against West Ham. He retained his place against Liverpool and Fulham but had to go off at Craven cottage with an injury.
Dawson was now very much in the manager’s thoughts as part of the defensive set-up at Tottenham. Fortunately, his absence through injury was short and he returned for the home game against Stoke. Since then he has only missed two matches due to the manager rotating his central defenders. Commenting recently on the summer uncertainty surrounding his future at Tottenham, Dawson said,
“If I had wanted to leave, I could have gone. They accepted an offer for me and I chose to stay and fight for my position. I wasn’t going to jump ship at the first sign of hard times.”
During those difficult weeks there were no complaints from Dawson, no tantrums or comments in the media – he was the perfect professional. Dawson has always been totally committed and he demonstrated that as he focused totally on his determination to change the manager’s opinion and regain his place in the Tottenham team.
Captain DawsonAs captain, Dawson leads by example and he has managed to create a record in the past year at Tottenham which is close to rivalling the one created by his former captain and central defensive partner, Ledley King. Dawson was always at his best when playing beside King. As a partnership they brought contrasting styles of play together in a perfect match. King who was unable to train due to his injuries in his last year’s at the club had a record of 17 consecutive games undefeated in all competitions from May, 2010 through to February, 2012. The run ended with defeat at Manchester City, when King conceded the first penalty of the season in added time, having played so well in his first game back after injury, bringing his usual authority to the Spurs’ defence.
Last season was severely disrupted for Dawson due to two serious injuries. Since his return from the first injury in January, 2012, Tottenham remain undefeated in the 15 Premier League matches which he has started. The run began with a 2 – 0 home success over Everton as Spurs moved level on points with Manchester United at the top of the League. He started the next match but the return of King for the crucial game at Manchester City saw him drop to the bench. He started two more games but then missed the remainder of the season with injury. His first start in the League, this season, was a victory at home to West Ham United and the win over Newcastle at the weekend brought the run to 15 games in which only 8 goals have been conceded.
Dawson’s Premier League Run
v Everton (h) Won 2 – 0
v Wolverhampton W. (h) Draw 1 – 1
v Liverpool (a) Draw 0 – 0
v Newcastle United (h) Won 5 – 0
v West Ham United (h) Won 3 – 1
v Liverpool (h) Won 2 – 1
v Fulham (a) Won 3 – 0
v Stoke City (h) Draw 0 – 0
v Sunderland (a) Won 2 – 1
v Reading (h) Won 3 – 1 Dawson
v Q.P.R. (a) Draw 0 – 0
v Manchester United (h) Draw 1 – 1
v Norwich City (a ) Draw 1 – 1
v W.B.A. (a) Won 1 – 0
v Newcastle United (h) Won 2 – 1
Throughout those games Dawson has given 100% for Spurs and his determination was clear in added time against Newcastle with a fully committed block on a shot as Newcastle tried for an equaliser. Such was the force behind the block that the ball rebounded to Emmanuel Adebayor near the half-way line and enabled him to set up another Tottenham counter-attack as the match swung from end to end in those final moments. In the game against Reading on New Year’s Day he scored Tottenham’s first goal of 2013.
At the outset of the season, Michael Dawson wanted to remain at Tottenham. He was determined to prove to new manger, Andre Villas-Boas, that he still had a contribution to make at the club and over the past seven months he has taken major clearly proved his point and Dawson obviously holds no grudges against his manager for the early omission from the team. Dawson who always has the same cheerful, friendly disposition was quoted on Villas-Boas,
“He speaks to me on a regular basis, and when I wasn’t playing, it was the same. He’s been great”
Over to You!
What are your views on Michael Dawson?