Vlad Chiriches the central defender Tottenham signed from Steaua Bucharest during the summer has shown in his two games that he will be pushing for a place in Andre Villas-Boas’ first choice team. The 23-year-old is captain of Romania but so far has only made two appearances for Spurs – in last week’s Capital One Cup win over Aston Villa and against Anzhi in the Europa League.
His two performances have taken a similar pattern – he has started uncertainly in the opening minutes but grown as the match has gone on to put in a confident, assured performance. With Younes Kaboul continuing to struggle to regain full match fitness – he went off last night before the end with anther minor injury just as he had done a fortnight ago against Tromso at White Hart Lane – it must provide an opportunity for Chiriches to be considered as third choice in central defence and push Michael Dawson for a place in the team selected for Premier League matches.
Chiriches is very confident on the ball – a footballing central defender – whose self-confidence can sometimes put him under pressure. Just as he had had a few nervy moments in the opening period at Villa Park, so last night in Russia he was under pressure early on. He was caught in possession on the edge of his own area with two Anzhi players around him but he showed strength in the challenge to hold off his opponents and battle back to reclaim the ball and bring it away from danger. A couple of minutes the bounce of a high dropping ball deceived him on the uneven pitch with the Anzhi striker heading for goal but he showed good recovery to get back and clear the danger for a corner.
After those initial uncertainties, Chiriches settled quickly to look very composed on the ball and dealt with the threat posed by Anzhi on the break.
He showed his enthusiasm to collect the ball and break from his own half on a forward run on more than one occasion, taking the opposition by surprise when it started as a counter-attack from the edge of his own area.Vlad Chiriches has experience of playing in the Champions League and in international football so he will be looking to stake a claim to a regular place in AVB’s first choice team. With Jan Vertonghen accepted as the top central defender, Chiriches’ challenge will be to displace captain Michael Dawson who has shown that he won’t give up his place in the team without a fight. The only other alternative would be if Vertonghen were to take his international position for the Belgium team and move to left back.
The quality of the Tottenham squad is providing competiton to every player to ensure he is at the “top of his game” and Chiriches is ensuring there’s no complacency in central defence.
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