Despite a fine display at the weekend, with Mousa Dembele particularly standing out in a more advanced position, Tottenham Hotspur did clearly miss the width and directness that Aaron Lennon provides them. Fortunately the winger is set to return at the weekend for the match against Fulham, and might even be back in time to play against Inter, but could Spurs try Kyle Walker in a more attacking role in the match on Thursday night to add another option to their squad?
“…he would be comfortable on the right flank of an attack.”
Bringing in Kyle Naughton behind Walker should ensure Spurs are not weakened defensively, indeed given some of Walker’s performances this season it might even strengthen the back four, and the 22 year old has demonstrated enough quality going forward to indicate he would be comfortable on the right flank of an attack.
Only Mousa Dembele, Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale have made more key passes per game for Spurs in the Premier League this season, with the right back creating 46 chances in 28 games. Like Bale and Lennon, Walker is devastatingly fast, and has the physical presence to ensure he won’t be bullied out of the game. His passing is competent enough – the weekend’s backpass notwithstanding – and it would be surprising if he was unwilling or unable to match Aaron Lennon’s tireless defensive contribution.
On paper at least, it looks like something that should be tried. Spurs have also played a risky game with the lack of like for like back up they have for Lennon and Bale, even sending Andros Townsend out on loan in January, and having a player who could operate in a similar way to the first choice wingers, rather than moving a central midfielder out wide, would be an good option to have.
Taking a 3-0 lead to the San Siro, Spurs will likely set up reasonably defensively and look to hit Inter on the counter. Lennon is clearly ideal for this purpose, but if there is any doubt over his fitness he should be saved for the weekend’s crucial match with Fulham. If Lennon cannot play, then moving Walker forward in front of Naughton should keep Spurs defensively sound, and ensure they do not lack width and pace on the counter attack.
It could be a disaster, but if it works Spurs might add an strong back up option to their squad, and sometimes these kind of positional punts work out very well indeed, just ask Gareth Bale.
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Premier League Table
# MP Team G P 1 2 Tottenham Hotspur +5 6 2 2 Chelsea +4 6 3 2 Manchester City +4 6 4 2 Swansea City +2 6 5 2 Arsenal +1 4 6 2 Hull City +1 4 7 2 Aston Villa +1 4 8 2 West Ham United +1 3 9 2 Liverpool -1 3 10 2 Everton +0 2 11 2 Sunderland +0 2 12 2 West Bromwich Albion +0 2 13 2 Manchester United -1 1 14 2 Southampton -1 1 15 2 Stoke City -1 1 16 2 Leicester City -2 1 17 2 Newcastle United -2 1 18 2 Crystal Palace -3 0 19 2 Burnley -3 0 20 2 Queens Park Rangers -5 0