Younes Kaboul Plays Captain’s Role For Tottenham At Arsenal


Younes Kaboul played his best game of the season for Tottenham, leading by example and fulfilling his captain’s role perfectly, as Spurs earned a point against Arsenal at the Emirates at the weekend.

Younes Kaboul stood up to every challenge that Arsenal threw at him on Saturday evening to produce an outstanding defensive performance in the face of almost constant pressure from the home side. He played with passion, endeavour and a dogged-determination that transmitted itself to the players around him and encouraged them to stand beside him and show a similar effort that would earn Spurs a deserved point at the Emirates.

Kaboul has been at Tottenham since 2007, apart from an 18-month spell with Portsmouth before Harry Redknapp resigned him in January, 2010. He has always been a player who has performed with passion and 100% commitment but his play at times suffered from a lack of concentration which produced individual errors. In 2011-12, Kaboul showed a much more consistent side to his game and on the retirement of Ledley King, the France international looked set for a long career in the Tottenham team.

In July, 2012, King commented 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."

Unfortunately, Younes Kaboul wasn’t able to build on that as he was injured in the opening game of the following season and missed all of the 2012-13 season. His recovery from the injury was slow and restricted his appearances last season. On returning to the side, he was as totally committed as ever but seemed to have lost that focus and the levels of concentration that King was stressing were so important when he spoke in 2012.

Younes Kaboul against Arsenal

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On Saturday against Arsenal, Kaboul was at his very best. He stood firm and organised those around him playing the captain’s role that Mauricio Pochettino wanted from him.

Having been at Tottenham for almost 6 years, he fully understands the rivalry between the two clubs and the importance of the game to the supporters. It was Kaboul who scored the winning goal in 2011 as Spurs claimed their first win over Arsenal at the Emirates.

Many were surprised that Pochettino had appointed Kaboul as captain, feeling that his performances didn’t merit a guaranteed place in the Tottenham back-four. In the pre-match build-up, the SkySports pundits, Sol Campbell and Jamie Redknapp, were less than complimentary about his appointment as Tottenham captain. As Stu Pot (@Its_stu) noted in his comment on Twitter,

Kaboul answered all his critics in that one performance and was the overwhelming choice of HotspurHQ readers, winning his “Spurs” as Man of the Match against Arsenal. He gave total commitment and expected the same from the players around him who responded to his example. Throughout the match he pointed, guided and directed his team and talked to them reminding them of their responsibilities. He was strong in the tackle and when required made sure the ball was cleared from the danger area. He was pivotal in the middle of the Tottenham defence getting his head or his foot to the ball to make that clearance as Arsenal pressed forward. He played with controlled passion and commitment in a very competitive match in a testing atmosphere.

Congratulations to Younes Kaboul on an outstanding performance in central defence and as Tottenham captain.