Etienne Capoue was asked to play at the back against Sunderland yesterday - and did not disappoint.
Yesterday evening saw Tottenham Hotspur come from a goal down for the second game in a row to take the win against Sunderland at The Stadium of Light.
Goals from Paulinho and John O’Shea (OG) saw Spurs come back from the early set-back of a Adam Johnson strike - after Hugo Lloris had dropped the ball directly into his path for a rasping half-volley.
It was in fact a very good performance from Spurs as their midfield trio of Paulinho, Dembele and Holtby certainly looked the most frightening combination offensively assembled by AVB so far this season, Nacer Chadli put in a much improved performance and Jermain Defoe was unlucky not to bag a hat-trick with three good attempts missing the target after sublime movement.
However the question marks before the game were mainly centred on the defence - and how an injury ravaged side would cope against a Sunderland team playing two up top for once in the form of Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher.
Spurs were already without Jan Vertonghen because of an ankle problem while Younes Kaboul also seems to be out of selection privileges at the moment with his Portuguese gaffer.
So when the news that Vlad Chiriches had a swollen knee emerged the question marks began - who plays centre back.
Well you may or not remember - that when Spurs managed to beat the likes of Cardiff City to the signing of French international Etienne Capoue of Toulouse one footnote in every article read as follows …
'… the defensive midfielder, who can also play centre-back.'
He certainly looks the part. At a rangy 6ft 2 ins he is certainly not one to mince his words when it comes to a tackle either - so AVB decided to slot him in alongside Michael Dawson for the Sunderland game.
So how did he get on?
Well he seemed to play off of Dawson when any aerial ball came forward. Dawson would go for the header while the more athletic Capoue was happy to sit behind and cover anything that came over the top.
He made just the two tackles in the game - but in all honesty much of Sunderland’s attacking prowess came from Seb Larsson and Adam Johnson on the flanks - Fletcher and Altidore had average games for The Black Cats.
But it was his composure and ability on the ball that made for good watching if you were a Spurs fan. He stroked the ball out from defence when Spurs transitioned into attack and his midfield capabilities made him a very cultured and attractive looking centre back at the heart of defence - dare I say almost Gerard Pique like.
He certainly did not make any mistakes and looks capable of doing a job at centre back in the future if need be.
Here is what Spurs fans felt about his display on Twitter …
Etienne Capoue was a rock at centre back today— Queervash (@BenBaker2194) December 7, 2013
Special mention for Etienne Capoue who was excellent tonight filling in as a make shift central defender.— Sandro_Facts (@Sandro_Facts) December 7, 2013
Hats off to Etienne Capoue who has filled in at centre back brilliantly. #THFC— Addicted to Spurs (@AddictedtoSpurs) December 7, 2013
Etienne Capoue has been fantastic today. Looks like he could be a brilliant ball playing centre back. #touchwood— Pad Davis (@patrickpops) December 7, 2013
Awesome performance this evening. You are a true Spur! @EtienneCapoue— Andy Kershaw (@Superspursman) December 7, 2013
Man of the match will be Etienne Capoue. The guy is a monster at CB #coys— Colin Wright (@colinwright1959) December 7, 2013
image: © alanstanton