Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

Should Jan Vertonghen Captain Tottenham Against Benfica?

With Michael Dawson missing from the Tottenham team for the next few weeks due to the hamstring injury which necessitated him coming off against Chelsea, should Jan Vertonghen succeed him as captain for the Europa League game against Benfica at White Hart Lane?

Jan Vertonghen was captain in Spurs convincing win at Newcastle when Michael Dawson was omitted from the starting line-up. One Tottenham fan, however, was beside himself at the Belgian taking the captain’s arm-band.

Vertonghen at the Lane

When Vertonghen joined Spurs in the summer of 2012, having captained Ajax to the Dutch title, I thought he would be an ideal replacement for the retiring Ledley King, both in central defence and as captain. At that time Michael Dawson’s future at White Hart Lane was uncertain and Vertonghen as a footballing central defender in the same mould as King and Richard Gough appeared to be the obvious choice.

Michael Dawson [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

Michael Dawson [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

Dawson, however, had other ideas, forcing his way back into the manager’s plans to reclaim the captaincy from William Gallas. Vertonghen settled into central defence and at left back when required through injury, having a good debut season in the Premier League as Spurs achieved a record total of points.

This season, however, Vertonghen has not been at his best either in play or in attitude. Unhappy to play at left-back, preferring the central position, he has voiced his displeasure and it has shown frequently in his disposition on the pitch when he has played with a scowl taking little pleasure from the game.

As Spurs’ chances of qualifying for the Champions League have slipped, the inevitable question of his options for next season have been raised. He has let it be known that he will have to consider his position should Tottenham finish outside the top-4.

Speaking after the defeat at Norwich, Vertonghen was reported in The Independent, saying,

Those are always difficult questions. What I want is to play in the Champions League with Tottenham, so hopefully I will get there this year.

Should a player whose recent form has been poor, whose attitude, as assessed by watching supporters, has been questionable and who is known to be considering his future at White Hart Lane, be made captain?

In my opinion, the answer has to be in the negative. He has shown little appetite for the Tottenham cause and has hardly led by example as Spurs have suffered frequent humiliating defeats. He has complained of having to play at left-back but that is the position he always plays in international games for Belgium so why is it a problem to play there in an emergency for Spurs? Every Spurs fan prefers him in central defence and the club has been at fault for having had so little cover at left-back over the past two seasons. For the good of the team, however, Vertonghen should be prepared to play there and give it total commitment in every game rather than be half-hearted in his endeavour.

Tim Sherwood, following the defeat at Chelsea spoke of players he could rely on and those he couldn’t. If Sherwood is true to his beliefs, which category Jan Vertonghen falls into might become clearer when the team and captain are announced for the Europa League match against Benfica.

Should Vertonghen take over as captain in Dawson’s absence?

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Should Vertonghen take over as captain in Dawson's absence?

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Tags: Captain Jan Vertonghen Michael Dawson Soccer Tottenham Hotspur

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