Spurs' supporters must pinch themselves knowing van de Ven is still just 22 years old. He's taken to the Premier League like an English professor to fluid prose. People call him the Rolls-Royce of centre-backs for a good reason. He is easily the quickest central defender in the top flight. He clocked a top speed of 37.38 km/h against Brentford on Jan. 21, bettering his blistering 35.97 km/h from last season at Wolfsburg.
Unsurprisingly, his outrageous 37.38 km/h against the Bees is a Premier League record since 2020-21, when such data existed. While his pace allows Tottenham to play a high line consistently, van de Ven's skill set extends well beyond his speed-of-light-like pace.
Tottenham is unbeaten when both centre backs play at least 45 minutes
And it shows. When van de Ven is on the pitch for more than 45 minutes, Spurs remain undefeated. He put on a clinic at Goodison Park, yet another example of his exemplary play. van de Ven also complements Romero perfectly. With both players out of the lineup, Tottenham lost three, tied one, and won one, taking four from 15 points. They were outscored 12-10 in those games, conceding 2.4 goals per match.
When both centre-backs are in the starting team, excluding the 1-4 loss to Chelsea when Romero picked up a red card and van de Ven went down early with an injury, Tottenham is undefeated (9 wins, 4 draws). In those matches, Tottenham scored 29 goals (2.2 per game), allowed 15 (1.2 goals per game), and had four clean sheets.
Spurs' only other clean sheet came in a 2-0 win on Dec. 15 at Nottingham Forest, in which Romero played but van de Ven didn't. Tottenham is yet to keep a clean sheet with both players out of the team. Without his partner in crime, Romero helped Tottenham to three wins and one loss.
While still in its infancy, Ange's project is predicated on having the right personnel to elicit a winning formula. No two players are more important to executing Ange's philosophy than Romero and van de Ven. Having the right centre-backs is so crucial that Ange has reinforced the spine for the foreseeable future with the signings of Ashley Phillips and Radu Dragusin.