Scott Parker is oak. More than oak; he is iron. He is steel. In last night’s pretty dreadful match against Liverpool he waged what appeared to be a one-man war of attrition against his opponents, unafraid to put foot, head or abdomen in where it mattered to keep the Tottenham clean sheet intact.
It is matches like this that make Spurs fans remember just how long it is we’ve been waiting for a midfielder like him; we have grown to like-nearly love- Tom Huddlestone but he is just too flightly, too unprepared to stand up in the really big games and announce that he will be the difference between the teams. Wilson Palacios could tackle but passing a ball accurately over a distance of more than three feet proved a feat beyond him. In fact, go through all our prominent centre-midfielders before Modric landed and it is an exercise in not-bad players that reflected our position as Big Team Bum Sniffers; Jenas, Zokora, Taino, Mendes, Brown... Carrick was good, but we didn’t mourn his departure the way we would Scotty.
Because in Scotty we finally have the real deal. The word immense is bandied about far too frequently, especially by those with an oncoming copy deadline, but last night he did the jobs of four men. He gained another Man of the Match award that you suspect he chucked in the dressing room bin with a shrug, such is his unflashy nature, and their regularity.
It is different now with Private Parker. Every ball that went into that Gerrard-friendly area between penalty spot and dee he got his head to...
Spurs were not at their best last night, not by a long shot. We missed VDV, we desperately missed Lennon’s pace on the right side, Liverpool’s doubling up on our Gareth was a set-example in the How To Stop Bale Mugging You Off guidebook. Modric was all quarterback passes and nifty steals but they were too far back and not prising holes in the penalty box. It is clear that we need another pacey player, someone that can cover on the flanks and another striker as Louis Saha looked exactly like a player who has scored one Premiership goal this season (though he wasn’t helped by us just punting balls onto his head the whole time). As a result of all this our mentality was different. We have got used to, spoilt by even, an all-encompassing attack!attack!attack! philosophy and last night, stymied by a lack of bodies and perhaps the absence of the talismanic manager on the sidelines, we sat back and looked vulnerable, especially when Suarez came on. It was a throwback to years of old, of the days of midfielder mediocrity, where a trip to Anfield would be expected to result in a draw at best.
The difference is we wouldn’t even have got that draw in those days. We would have caved. But it is different now with Private Parker. Every ball that went into that Gerrard-friendly area between penalty spot and dee he got his head to. Every player that went through he got to the ball first. It was a lesson in old school football. He even hoofed it out a few times, perhaps not the sort of stuff we’re used to but a throwback to when footballers were men and preferred playing in the snow because it hurt. These were precisely the sort of games we would have lost before Parker, often capitulating to a 2 or 3 nil that would have us bemoaning the ifs and buts that never seemed to go our way. But times are different for us now, and though yesterday was by no means a vintage (or even enjoyable) performance, we were very grateful that Parker is a Spur.
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