Blogs & Opinion


Johnny Phillips:

Most Popular Posts:

Spurs' Steven Caulker is displaying a maturity beyond his years, says Johnny Phillips

Johnny Phillips - Johnny Phillips Posted 31st December 2012 view comments

To look at Steven Caulker turning out in the heart of the Spurs defence, supporters would be forgiven for thinking he was an experienced pro. His composure on the ball, positional sense and aerial presence make for a formidable opponent.

Yet Caulker only turned 21 on Saturday. Here is a prospect that Spurs fans are rightly excited about.

The youngster puts a good deal of his development down to three crucial years spent away from White Hart Lane, when he spent time on loan at Yeovil, Bristol City and Swansea.

Steven Caulker (right): Celebrating with Spurs team-mates Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale

Steven Caulker (right): Celebrating with Spurs team-mates Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale

"My aim coming back to Spurs this year after three years away on loan was to break into the side this season," he explained. "They were massive years for me, especially going to Yeovil at 17 to get that taste of first team football. Then I stepped up the leagues in the following years. I really enjoyed it and it helped me take big steps forward. I was very inexperienced going out at 17 and I've managed to get 100 games behind me coming back to Spurs."

Competition

Caulker is fending off strong competition to keep his place in the side. Ledley King's retirement undoubtedly left a void that needed filling. If comparisons with King are unfair at this stage, the player himself is more than happy to talk about the former stalwart of the defence when I asked what his own strengths are.

There will be much water to pass under the bridge between now and May. Andre Villas-Boas' first season in charge has already brought plenty of drama, but Caulker is taking his chance and clearly relishing the opportunity that has come his way.

Johnny
Quotes of the week

"With Ledley King retiring, he was someone I looked up to," Caulker added. "He was fantastic on the ball with right or left foot. I like to get on the ball and relax. And with my height, I'd like to say my heading. I've managed to get a few goals this year and I'd like to get more and it's something I'm working on."

Caulker's first full season in Tottenham's first team promises to be as competitive as ever. Last season's battle for fourth spot went down to the wire and the Feltham-born defender is anticipating another close-fought battle, with Spurs prevailing.

"I'm confident we're going to get that top four spot," he predicted. "That was our aim at the start of the season. We're on track to do so but we'll have to work hard there's no doubt about that and it's going to be a rollercoaster season now with ups and downs, there's a lot of strong competition."

Maturity

When we met up at Spurs training ground ahead of the Christmas fixture programme, Caulker was clearly enjoying his surroundings back at the club he joined as a 15-year-old. He is displaying a maturity beyond his years. That much was in evidence by the way he handled himself in the aftermath of the England Under 21 match in Serbia earlier this season. Handed a two-match ban by UEFA for his part in the brawl his response has been dignified. While those close to the set up believe Caulker was amongst the playing victims of intolerable abuse on the day, the player has held his counsel. Now he just wants to concentrate on holding down his first team place at Spurs.

"To have quite a good run in the team, I was quite proud. Because I joined Tottenham when I was 15 so it's taken five years of hard work and graft, a lot of it on loan, but I'm glad to be back and putting that Spurs shirt on."

There will be much water to pass under the bridge between now and May. Andre Villas-Boas' first season in charge has already brought plenty of drama, but Caulker is taking his chance and clearly relishing the opportunity that has come his way.

Catch Gillette Soccer Special on New Year's Day from 12pm on Sky Sports News HD.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Martin Tyler

Tyler's stats and facts

Who's played for the most teams? Which nation gets most goals? Martin Tyler has the stats......

Guillem Balague

Guillem: Messi has changed

Guillem Balague explains how Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are playing new roles this season....

Football League Bloggers

FL72 Blog: Howe about that?

Keith Andrews has high praise for Eddie Howe and names the League One star heading to the top....

Latest News RSS feeds

Rodgers backs Gerrard

Brendan Rodgers remains confident that Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard will continue to deliver at the highest level.

Mata issues United apology

Juan Mata has apologised to Manchester United fans after the team's embarrassing capitulation at Leicester on Sunday.

Terry: Fabregas part of family

John Terry has hailed the ‘big impression’ made by Cesc Fabregas, insisting he is ‘part of the Chelsea family’.

Live transfer updates

Stoke striker Peter Crouch wanted by QPR, questions over Radamel Falcao's loan move and latest on Kevin Strootman.

Debuchy out for three months

Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy has been ruled out for three months after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle.

Features

Capital One Cup tie between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest stirs memories of 1991 FA Cup Final

Capital One Cup tie between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest stirs memories of 1991 FA Cup Final

Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest will no doubt stir memories for supporters of a certain vintage. The teams have played each other numerous times since, but this will always be remembered as a rerun of the 1991 FA Cup Final.

MK Dons interview: Lee Hodson and Samir Carruthers chat to Sky Sports about the League One club

MK Dons interview: Lee Hodson and Samir Carruthers chat to Sky Sports about the League One club

Sky Sports caught up with MK Dons duo Lee Hodson and Samir Carruthers to talk about ambitions for the season, manager Karl Robinson, hot prospect Dele Alli, beating Manchester United and who would win in a FIFA duel.