Naughton cements opinion Bentaleb changes them

Tim Sherwood praised Kyle Naughton after the game in an attempt to boost his confidence.

"I want to give credit to Kyle Naughton today," Sherwood said. Fortunately Spurs came from two down to win so Sherwood was in the comfortable position of being able to praise the player responsible for putting Southampton 2-0 in front.

"I told him anyone can make mistakes and it was obvious he made two mistakes. What everyone can't do is stand tall and put themselves on offer in the second half of the game. Too often, players go hiding and want to come off. He wanted to go and put that right and he did that in the second half and I give him massive credit for that.
Kyle Naughton
Kyle Naughton two errors cost two goals

"He'll grow from that. I played in a lot of games and they were a disaster. You learn from playing in that and get stronger next time. I want to see people roll their sleeves up and have a go. Anyone can make mistakes. You've just got to get on with it."

What everyone seems to forget is that Kyle Naughton is not a kid, He is 25, he will be 26 in November. He is not suddenly going to improve. He is a limited full-back who has covered both sides for us. He does not have huge wages and can have good games, he did well against Benfica in the second leg for instance.

It is understandable at his age that he wants to be playing regularly. If he does then he'll have to leave obviously but with Kyle Walker having a pelvic injury he is getting a run of games. These games are his chance to show Tim Sherwood, to show the club, to show the supporters that he is better than everyone thinks he is. Unfortunately games like today, despite Sherwood's encouraging words, just cement opinions in firmly place.

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A youngster Sherwood has shown faith in and has been proven right despite what some fans think is Nabil Bentaleb. He continues to emerge as a player with a future ahead of him. I sometimes wonder what people expect. Bentaleb is 19, inexperienced and playing as a defensive midfielder, a position normally requiring a more experienced player.

He doesn't create any goals, he only passes sideways and backwards. Do some people understand what the role of a defensive midfielder is? He is not playing the number 10 role, it is not his job to create goals, in the one game he played further forward he created one goal and was instrumental in two others as well. I don't hear anyone complaining that Sandro doesn't create goals.

A defensive midfielder is used to switch play. A player will pass to him and his role is to play it to the other side of the pitch to move the opposition about and make himself available for another short pass. He is a great twister and turner to lose an opponent, he has a good eye for a pass, usually picking the right option.

What he does is valuable, he sees and passes quickly which gives the man on the ball extra time to decide his pass. He role is to play short passes, either side, to the playmaker or the winger. It is not his role to charge forward, it's to switch play, to do that he has to pass sideways.

He plays with an energy and passion that is sorely lacking in many of his teammates. That of course is because he wants to take the chance he has been given as he points out and he is certainly doing that.

“I tried in France but no-one wanted me. So I had to come to England. I went on trial to Birmingham and then my agent at the time told me to come on trial for Tottenham and it was Tim that signed me.

“I tried so hard. I was at Lille – they kicked me out. They said I was too small. I sent my CV to all the clubs and went on trial for a few clubs.

Nabil Bentaleb emerging at Spurs
Nabil Bentaleb emerging at Spurs
“I didn’t feel it was all over. After I tried everything I knew my future was not going to be in France. Now I feel wonderful – it’s a good revenge.

“Since I came to the club I had good people around me that helped me going through the homesickness. But once you have dreams you do ­everything to achieve them. I get the chance to play under the manager. I’m still learning and working hard to keep my feet on the ground.

“I played one season for Tim with the development squad and once he took over he kept me with him. He wants to get the best out of the players and make sure we’re all up for it when the game comes. Of course, I think it would be great if he stays."

He has the makings of becoming a top footballer and one worth a lot of money. At 6' 2" he has obviously grown, as well as growing as a player. Already there is talk that David Moyes is going to offer £10 million to take him to Old Trafford.

In another season he will be worth a lot more than £10 million and Spurs will not need to worry about the central defensive position. His emergence puts a big question mark over the Tottenham future of summer signing Etienne Capoue who is currently injured.

He put in another excellent performance against Southampton, he still had that energy that Tim Sherwood referred to in a later press conference after the game. He felt Spurs started without energy and then blew up in the second half stating he felt European games drained the players.

"I wanted to play a high-tempo game and try and press them high up the field and I didn't think we had the energy to do it. It was quite evident and I have to make an excuse for them. I think the European midweek games take their toll," Sherwood said.

"We always seem to finish very well after European games, but we don't start the games very well. Against a good side like Southampton, you're going to get punished and 2-0 down after 28 minutes, I was dreading coming in here [to the press conference], chaps, I have to tell you."

Sherwood feels just like any Spurs fan, we were dreading what could happen, but then we have that dread every game at the moment and that tells you that the team is ordinary, that the Head Coach is not the man to take the team forward.

It was another workmanlike performance and that isn't good enough for top four. We are miles behind that standard at the moment so it may well be a season where we can concentrate on the league and the cups next season.

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