The Tottenham membership have ended the 2017/18 season divided among a generational line. Jan Vertonghen won the Members’ Player of the Season and Christian Eriksen the Junior Members’. Is much lauded experience the key to identifying Spurs’ Star or are the new generation of analytics awoken youth wise beyond their years?
Eriksen comes out top on Twelve’s ranking system with Vertonghen coming in 3rd to sandwich Harry Kane.
It is a testament to both his award-competing teammates and the standards set by the striker himself that he could record a 30 goal League season and still be deemed to have had a slightly off season.
Although the younger fans have opted for the more attacking player if they were making their selection based on goals and excitement then Kane would have been the obvious choice. Instead they collectively voted for the dainty Dane, a player of subtlety and guile.
The Twelve widget captures him not only performing at various stages throughout the season but able to pick out a pass from anywhere on the pitch.
Eriksen has played wherever needed this season; left, right, central and even deep, sometimes all in the same game.
Whether this season’s consistency has come from within his own growth – mental, physical or technical – or whether this is simply a case of the team around him providing him with a more consistent platform of time on the ball and making the right movements around him is a matter of debate. The latter somewhat calls into question the very nature of individual awards.
The senior members’ pick too, has demonstrated a special consistency but this is less positional, and more about the various phases of the play. Vertonghen has trotted out an unwavering defensive solidity but combined this with line-breaking forwarded passes, mazy, one-footed, runs with the ball and aggressive switches of the play.
Again, stylistically, this is nothing new from the Belgian but taken to new levels this year. Perhaps this was a vote of relief for the One Hotspur members who have seen it all. This season they witnessed Jan shining in the absence of his countryman Toby Aldweireld.
Alderweireld asserted himself as the best defender in the Premier League over the last two season before missing the vast majority of 2017/18, at first through injury, and what now seems fairly clear to have been extended due to contractual disputes.
To have Vertonghen immediately step up and fill his place, and in turn new boy Davinson Sanchez turn in a highly impressive debut season, has provided an immediate and easy solution to what could have been a quite catastrophic problem.
So who wins?
For my two cents, I think oldies’ favourite Jan Vertonghen just edges it, but to leave Christian Eriksen un-celebrated would be an injustice of it’s own. On balance an even divide of individual awards between the two ex-Ajax stars probably captures the mood on a very close call.