When Ledley King retired he spoke highly of Younes Kaboul and how he was developing as a top defender. Since then Kaboul has had serious injury problems but on returning to the team he has struggled to rediscover his best form.
Ledley King retired in the summer of 2012 and spoke of how Younes Kaboul was developing an understanding of the role of a central defender and everyone was looking forward to him becoming a mainstay of the Tottenham team in the absence of the man who had carried out that role for many seasons in spite of his injury problems.
In that 2011-12 season, Kaboul was Tottenham’s best and most improved defender. A problem with lapses in concentration, earlier in his career when he first joined Spurs, had been eradicated gradually and he had become a much more reliable central defender. He played with great enthusiasm and had made five appearances for France, only missing out on their Euro 2012 squad through injury.
At that time, King said that Kaboul was learning to be a defender rather than wanting to play everywhere.
Younes Kaboul is finally fulfilling his potential, becoming the main man in the rearguard after learning to simply ‘be a defender’.
In an interview reported by Ben Pearce in the Hackney Gazette, King spoke of how when Kaboul returned to White Hart Lane in 2010, they had talked of how he could become a better player and the need for greater concentration. King said,
Some players can tend to want to do too much, and I think he’s been our best defender because he’s confident in his ability, his concentration levels were higher last season and he wants to defend and be a defender……last season was his best season – he was right up there with the best centre-backs in the league.
This was high praise for Kaboul and a great endorsement from his captain.Unfortunately, injury has prevented Kaboul building on that successful season. He missed all of last season, bar the opening game, and injury has again greatly restricted him this year. He has returned in recent games, as captain, but his form has been disappointing. He is as totally committed as he’s always been but he seems to have lost that focus and the levels of concentration that King was stressing were so important when he spoke in 2012.
As Spurs recent defensive displays have been alarmingly poor, they need Kaboul at his best to stand firm and organise those around him. Rather, Kaboul has gone back to his old ways of wanting to be everywhere rather than just a defender. It was from a forward foray to the Albion goal-line that Kaboul was caught out of position and then back-headed the ball towards his own goal, creating difficulties for Vlad Chiriches, which led to Spurs conceding the third goal on Saturday.
Time, perhaps, for Ledley King to have another chat with Kaboul on the central defender’s role and the importance of being fully focused and having total concentration at all times. He benefited from a similar talk in 2010 and it might be a good way of helping Kaboul cope with his responsibilities as a defender and the added duties as captain of the team.
Kaboul is a whole-hearted player who displays his passion on the pitch. No-one wants to take that away from him but for the good of the team, he needs to set an example of control and responsibility and be a steadying influence as he tries to rediscover his best form.