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Have we outgrown Dawson?

I'd like to start this post by commending Michael Dawson. He's a very vocal player, seems like a genuinely nice guy off the pitch and has given us 8 years of committed service since his transfer from Nottingham Forest in 2005.

With a revolving door in full flow at White Hart Lane, it was very difficult to know who to give the captain's armband to, especially as we had a new manager, but the series of events which led to Dawson's appointment were fairly bizarre, seeing himself transfer listed only weeks before.

I can't stress enough how much characters can help a dressing room and how vocal leadership can help players on the pitch, but I feel with Michael Dawson, the cliches which make up his career, such as 'he gives 110%', 'he wears his heart on his sleeve' and 'he puts his body on the line' pave over the cracks somewhat.

For me, if it was on ability alone, Dawson would be dropped. In fact, if it was on ability alone, clocks would be turned back and Caulker would have been kept in place of him and Dawson would be playing for QPR. The reason why there is any debate in my eyes is the fact that football isn't just about ability, but it is about fight and desire.

Daws, as I've mentioned, is extremely vocal on the pitch. He directs but in my opinion, can't act. He's the footballing equivalent of Quentin Tarantino having a cameo appearance in one of the many great films he's brought us. For example, I feel that Etienne Capoue, although we were told he could play centre back, made his first appearance in that role for us in a tricky tie in the North East on Saturday. I felt he had a much better game than Dawson and looked more composed on the ball and was more positionally sound than our captain.

I feel that Vertonghen looks the better part of the pairing whenever they line up and I feel the same about Chiriches and Caulker (when we had him). The only time, for me, where Dawson has looked in any way comfortable at centre back is when he lined up with the King. It was almost like Ledley's aura spilled and created a sense of calm for his partner. Is Dawson, perhaps in a more eccentric fashion than King, having the same effect on his defensive partner?

Would Capoue have had as good a game against Sunderland had Dawson not been there? I think it's very easy to say that we could see a pairing of Capoue and Vertonghen against Liverpool and perhaps would do better, but I guess that depends on your view on whether character is overrated or essential on a football pitch. Thoughts, as always are welcome.

Written by Bernio Villas-Spuras

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The journalist

Writer: Bernio Villas-Spuras Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 10 2013

Time: 8:12AM

Your Comments

First choice for me :)
South L/Derry Spurs
Secondly what would you rather have !! a player committing his career to the club giving his all or a mercenary like campbell using us as a stepping stone !!
South L/Derry Spurs
This is a question that is being asked more frequently lately. We all know he is too slow for quick attacking teams. Imo he still has a place against the 'park-the-bus teams' and is .therefore. worth a place on the bench; where he should get used to spending more time. He is a good personality within the team structure. He knows the history and, with so many new guys playing for us now, he can help them to understand what that history means. I don't think his enthusiasm for the shirt should be ignored; it is a huge thing in terms of our current situation. Keep him, but not the first name on the team-sheet.
Geof- I dis-agree...I don't think he does have a place against park the bus teams as his lack of distribution and pace (because we are that much further up) causes us problems, he's better against an aerial threat and when we play deeper....As for being on the bench he's our first choice CB at the moment!
Squad player, keep him as his commitment is great, but he is just so slow and always gets caught out of position, bottom line is he is not good enough to start every game if you want top 4 :/
For me, we can only drop him once we have truly replaced him. We haven't. Every team needs a CB like him - a Terry, a Jageilka. Someone who is ALWAYS there and can be depended on to be there. He is the only CB that we can rely on to be fit. He did have 2 major injuries recently, but those were freak occurrences on the field. But he won't pick up knocks in training of something. Kaboul has always been injury prone, and now he is even worse. Caulker could have been the perfect replacement for Dawson - ultimately, and I hope we do have first dibs on him when the time is right to get him back. But for me, we haven't out-grown Daws yet.
Cider ... that's true. I guess the two things he has going for him are his heading ability and his willingness to commit his body for the shirt. Not sure what the injury situation is at the moment ... we have Verts, Kaboul and Capoue for CBs apart from Dawson (I like the idea of Capoue behind Sandro), Walker and Chiriches in FB positions. There are other options of course.
Absolutely NOT!
Hotspur 1882
I was reading down the article ready to come back with the "..but he makes others play better - like King!" arguement but you beat me to it!! lol

Regardless, my answer is no...not quite yet. Dawson is severely lacking when it comes to footballing ability - granted - but in terms of tenacity, spirit and defiance of the opposition, he's up there with the the likes of John Terry or Fernando Hierro. This provides a sense of assurance, giving everyone (not just the back four) the confidence to express themslves while also enabling the presence of mind to remain responsible for their own roles on the pitch.

This is of course in some of our games havent exactly shown these traits in all their glory. That said, is there anything more responsible for a team having so many points at this stage of the season that is playing so poorly?

I honestly believe that at this moment, Dawson is that important. As far as our squad goes, we've an abundance of talent...but few strong characters or "leaders".
I have never rated Dawson the player. He was good with King, but pretty average with all other partners. Would like him to remain as club captain and be involved as a squad member, but the thought of him playing against Suarez is making me feel sick!
Tactically Challenge
In fantasy land you could get rid of Dawson. In the real world Cliriches is injured, Vertonghen is injured and Kaboul's injury record is beginning to remind me of Ledley King. So who exactly are you going to play in central defence ? Dawson and Capoue will probably start against Liverpool because we have no one else. If we don't like it, well tough, we're stuck with it.
Dawson is only at the club because a 9 million quid offer came in for Caulker in the summer which Danny boy could not turn down. Perfect for the balance sheet! Had a 9 million quid offer come in for Dawson which we know will never happen, he would have been sent away. That's the way it works at Spurs. You sold if the price is right and you stay if the right offer has not come in for you yet, or you are injured...
Pele10 - Still talking crap. Caulker has stated he asked for a transfer. Don't you read anything ?
Jod, I doubt Caulker would have asked for a transfer if we had taken the offer on Dawson first, given a choice between the two I would have gone for Caulker mainly because of age.
tophobunty1882 - What are you talking about ? We did accept the offer on Dawson, he turned it down. Why do people imagine a club can just tear up a player's contract ?
Pele10 - I dont get what point you're making here. Caulker was given the opportunity to move and took it. He didnt go screaming for transfer but when a suitable offer came in, he was informed and as a personal preference, he chose to move to Cardiff.

Dawson was in practically the exact same position a year earlier and decided to stay. The offer was £9m but he wasnt exactly forced out to make room for the bags of cash...instead he was handed the captains armband!!
Tophonumpty - Who exactly are you going to play instead of Dawson when he's the only fit centre back we've got ?
I have read some drivel in my time, but nowt as pathetic as this tosh. Yet another so called spurs fan who is only happy when ripping players apart. Read the bloody news dickhead, Vertonghen is out for near on six weeks. Kaboul still having injury problems, we need Dawson more than ever. He may never be the fastest centre back in the league but he is no where near the slowest, get off his case and get behind him. He misses little when the high ball comes into the box, I honestly don't understand where twits like you come from, get back into your hole where you crawled from I am fed up with so called spurs fans like you. '
Barry Lewis
Barry, of course we cant sell or possibly even drop Dawson with all these current injuries, but have we outgrown him ? I say yes, we should be looking for better and possibly Caulker was a better bet. Dawson now is the Dawson of 5-6 years ago at the top level very exposed anywhere outside the pen area and nothing changes in 6 years, he just has not improved IMO. Inside the box he remains very good and his attitude is great. I would like us to replace him with better if and when possible.
Dawson shows that enthusiasm for the game, hard work and leadership qualities can take you a long way. There are better centre backs than him but that is the problem in football, getting everything in one package. At least Dawson actually plays in matches.Look at Kabul- the less he plays the higher he is rated!
You won't find a better squad player, he should be kept. Had a chance to take the easy route last summer, decided to stay, fight for his shirt, won!!! When the likes of Stoke are our opponents, Dawson is just the player for that sort of team & will happily keep himself in shape & be ready for action, if called upon. It's all well and good saying "get rid" etc, but then you have to replace him & hope that the replacement is happy to wait for an opportunity to earn a shirt, or that any player dropped for Dawson's replacement will happily be a 'squad player'

A happy squad is extremely important to AVB, whilst Dawson is still with THFC, that squad harmony is much more likely to remain, than it is if he's replaced.
Pele - Dawson is only here because he TURNED DOWN OFFERS TO LEAVE, AND FOUGHT TO STAY. Anything else you say is a blatant lie & proof has been posted on here a million times about Caulker. Quite frankly, why you persist on spouting the same old drivel, is beyond me, and pretty much everyone else too. Please, I beg of you, STOP LYING!!
Well said Coopsie!
We DID accept an offer on Dawson, to say otherwise is just a lie.

There's just 3 very easy to find links that confirm a bid was accepted, continue to ignore them if it suits your misguided opinion.

And here's a link or two that state his desire to stay and fight, rather than leave..

Then, to finish off this little fact finding mission, here's a simple link to the 'man' being discussed, thanking his manager for his honesty & the opportunity for a "second chance".

Sorry to all concerned, I just find the facts tend to help when attempting to have a general discussion..
Cynic, I am not sure the less Kaboul plays the higher he is rated, I think it's the opposite, clearly he is a more rounded talented athlete footballer and CB than Dawson, but at the moment, this season and last is he better for us than Dawson? no because he cant stay on the pitch long enough, it's a great shame and a big loss to us. If we could replace Dawson with better I would, but that would be the same with any player.
After Dawsons slip up in the Fulham game I was a little concerned when thinking about the upcoming Liverpool game, Mr. Suarez and co. But watching him play alongside Capoue in the Fulham match reaffirmed my faith in him. Dawson was commanding and strong. I'm certain this helped Capoue to settle quickly into his makeshift position. Sure, Michael is not the greatest CB in the world but he's one of the toughest, consistent and reliable in the PL. A great captain. It was only 3 and a bit seasons ago, when we finished 4th, that he was voted THFC player of the year and Carlos Tevez said he was the best English defender he had played against. Some say he's not a top 4 player, well he was that year. I think he's a better player now, and a valuable squad member. We need guys like Dawson and I'm chuffed that he turned down a move to QPR.
*Most consistent*
Have we outgrown Dawson?....Nope!!...I'm still only 5' 10". Sensible post to follow....Hopefully.
Cider spurs
Dawson has been fantastic this season so far. I think he has improved, we have not conceded so much from set plays, suggests positioning is better as seems to win more headers now. The only replacements for Daws is Kaboul and Chiriches who can play RCB. Capoue did well but more a midfielder (only a CB emergency). Kaboul cannot be relied upon due to previous injury. Verts and Caulker can/could only play LCB. Vlad can do both. So I think we have a good balance for rotation. Due to injury at the moment Daws has to keep playing. Am very surprised again we have to have a pick on player each week/month that has to be shot at. Typical.
CoysRus, agreed. Especially with your last sentence…..
Yep, what 'CoysRus' said.
Best Captain we've had for years. For me he's still the first choice CB. Too much made about his peceived lack of speed, passing ability etc. Daws more than makes up for lack of speed with the leadership qualities that many of the rest of the team don't yet have. Apart from which, he has clearly worked hard to adapt his game and has made huge improvements to his passing game this season. Mr Tottenham still has a job to to for Spurs.
ParkLane67, Dawson is wrongly criticised about his passing. He makes a hell of a lot of passes that mostly find his man...
Parklane they are two big problems with Dawson at the top level, but not his biggest, his biggest is getting pulled out of position too easily which exposes his lack of speed. His judgement, ok in a packed area out side that area very suspect. We have seen several examples this season and recently.
It was very public knowledge that AVB was happy to see Dawson go recently in and or around a window, where was the rarher large q developing for take on his services? oh I remember it was a rather large Q PR.....why no other top half clubs in for him? tells its own story.
Once I see Chiriches and Verts consistently heading balls away from the box, then I'll happily concede that Dawson should be benched, I don't think that that day has come yet though.
Cleveland ARTSPURS
Dawson has copped a lot of criticism for his cross field, long, diagonal passes ... but a good percentage of them find their target and initiate a fast attack. A lot of posters seem to judge him on how he used to play without giving him any credit for his hard-worked improvement over the last 3 years or so. I still think he is too slow for the way we often play but he is still worth a squad place ... and credit where credit is due!
Amen to that, Geof..
I'm not sure what all this carry on about Suarez is about!
Dawson has done very well against him in the past. In fact, he has yet to have a particularly good game against Dawson & co.
I would much rather face him than someone like Bale.

But then those really in the know, (Liverpool Echo) tell us he is much better than Messi and Ronaldo!!!!
Hotspur 1882
We need Dawson because non of our other players do the things he does. Vertongen and Vlad do not have the ability to head the ball away this is why Dawson compliments their game and without him we would struggle in that area. Kaboul is too injury prone and Capoue we don't know. Imo the best defenses are those with a Dawson like player like Terry is for Chelsea so until we get a reliable replacement no we haven't out grown him we need him.

I love Dawson commitment and dedication and what he does for us and accept his weaknesses. Its alright having ball playing, fancy footwork defenders but what happens when we play the likes of Stoke or when balls come flying into the area, we need someone who will put their body on the line, get their head on it make the last minute attempt to clear the ball, this man is Dawson.

However, I do think we need to be looking for a replacement because he is not getting younger and it looks like Kaboul will move on unless he proves his fitness and sign s another contract but I am not sure he will as he seems to be managing only a odd game.

As for Caulker, potentially can become a great player but he wanted first team football and he was not ready for that responsibility, we couldn't take the chance. Him and Vertonghen would not have been right so nothing we could do the lad wanted to play every week, plus has he got the leadership to play that role, imo not yet and Vertonghen is not a leader either so Dawson has to be first choice imo as the article says its not all about ability.,
Really good post, WP.
Over the past few years, when I've been to WHL and I've sat close to the pitch and near a goal area, I've watched Dawson commanding his troops. He has always been strong in organising his defence, vocally and physically. He plays the role of captain well. I would be a confident goalkeeper if I were in Lloris' boots. King was the same and Kaboul is also very vocal and commanding. Dawson has been the one constant throughout. It's no coincidence that our defence has tightened up in recent years.
Goods posts Geof and WP
Cleveland ARTSPURS
I think everyone is forgetting how fragile our defense was last season without dawson. Hes not as quick and not teh best ball playing defecender. These weaknesses have no doubt been exposed under AVB's style. However, he is by far the best leader we have. And in games when we come under pressure, I honestly think we wouldnt cope without Daws leading our resistance. Plus his heading, tackling and anticipation is as good as anyone of our defenders.
Love it, some really excellent pro-Dawson posts. I get fed up with all this “Dawson is Spurs through and through, love his attitude and commitment but he is useless” type of post. As for his talking on the pitch its mostly organising the back4, that’s what he is supposed to do. As for his age what do you want Walker, Cliriches, Verts and Rose average age 24, not very clever for a back four. AVB took one look at Dawson and didn’t rate him highly. He made a mistake and admitted it by making him Captain and unlike John Terry at Chelsea Dawson rewarded AVB rather than orchestrating an out campaign.
matt hoten
Barry Lewis, I rarely jump in to defend my articles, but since you've attempted to question my integrity as a Spurs fan AND insult me, I have to try and defend myself here.

If you managed to read past the title, even though I know you're probably distracted by big, bold writing, you'll see that underneath sits the body of the text. If you're struggling here then ask your carer to read it for you because they'll probably tell you that a balanced argument lies underneath. At no point have I said we should sell him and at no point have I reached a conclusion whether I would keep him or not, so how about you save your whole tirade of "I'm a better supporter than you because I support the players" speeches for someone who might consider having a tinkle on you if you were on fire.

I give 100% support to the players when they're on the pitch, but football forums are designed to allow people to raise discussion points and see where it leads. As for reading the news, dickhead, again, if you had the attention span which rivaled that of a baby chimp then you'd have completed the article and noticed that I haven't mentioned selling him any time soon, let alone in the 6 weeks that Vertonghen's out for. One thing that I hate in this world is somebody flying off the handle just because they haven't bothered to get the facts straight beforehand. If you were enough of a man then you would admit fault here and I will see it as an honest mistake and move on. I'm not here to fall out with Spurs fans. I'm sure folks on here will testify to the fact that I have a pretty staunch record of being understanding of people's views, regardless of whether or not I agree with them. Trust though, if you try a counter argument to anything I've just said then I suggest that you get everything 100% accurate, otherwise I will pick apart everything you say and make you look like a fool. Thank you to everyone else for their input. Some interesting and valid points made, and one that I've missed entirely is the fact that Dawson turned QPR down and it was nothing to do with the club. Again, shows balls to turn down a big money move to a smaller club where he'd certainly be made captain and paid as much as he's on here, to risk becoming 4th or 5th choice at Spurs. Kudos. As for Dawson's passing, I'd go as far as saying that it's probably more successful than someone like Charlie Adam's, who has made a career out of being a decent passer of the ball. He spots a pass and it can be ideal for a counter attack. At the worst, he hoofs it out for a throw in, but we've gained territory.
Bernio Villas-Spuras
Bernio ... I do think you underestimate the contributions Dawson makes on the field. But, it's all within the above posts.

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