How much of an effect will Younes Kaboul’s return have on Tottenham Hotspur?

The French defender will return to training for Tottenham Hotspur next week after being out since the first game of the season. How big an impact can Kaboul have in the final weeks of the Premier League?

Amid the slew of injuries Spurs have dealt with this season, with Jermain Defoe the latest senior player to be consigned to a spell on the side-lines, it has become almost forgotten that they have been without one of their first choice centre backs since the start of the season.

The defence has coped well, and the strength in depth in that area of the pitch has been vital, especially when the other likely first choice centre back, Jan Vertonghen, had to move to cover at left back for several matches.

Given the form that Michael Dawson, Steven Caulker, William Gallas and Vertonghen have shown in the heart of defence, and the greater shortage in other areas of the pitch, some fans might suggest that Kaboul’s return might not have a huge effect on the season. However I would argue having Kaboul fit could end up being crucial to Spurs’ attempts to claim a Champions League spot.

Adding Kaboul to a back four containing Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen gives a Spurs a defence that is not only imposing and effective at the back, but highly adept at playing the ball out from the back. Kaboul and Vertonghen in particular should be able to retain the ball comfortably in their own half, and ensure Mousa Dembele and Scott Parker have a steady an accurate supply in the centre of the pitch.

How much you enjoy Michael Dawson’s performances for Spurs can sometimes depend on how annoying you find his attempts to emulate Glenn Hoddle’s 40 yard passes. When they come off, they look fantastic, but more often than not they result in a loss of possession. Frankly, even his radar is on song those kind of long balls are not the kind of football the rest of the side is looking to play, and replacing Dawson with Kaboul should see a more gradual build up to their attacks, accompanied by the occasional lung-busting run from the Frenchman.

Simply put, Kaboul is a better play than the other centre backs, perhaps with the exception of Jan Vertonghen, and his return to the side could have a massive impact on Spurs’ prospects in the final weeks of the season. On paper, Spurs’ first choice back five looks the best they have had in years, and it will be a major boost to finally have them playing together.

images: © hollidaypics, © wonker

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