Southampton: Why You Need Lionheart Dawson

Conceding 24 goals in eight games is hardly ideal for a team returning to the Premiership, but the Spurs defender is the man to plug the gap in the leaky Saints defence...
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Conceding 24 goals in eight games is hardly ideal for a team returning to the Premiership, but the Spurs defender is the man to plug the gap in the leaky Saints defence...

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After seven years with Tottenham Hotspur, it appears Michael Dawson’s time at White Hart Lane is coming to an end in January, with Southampton the latest club to have shown an interest.

Dawson began his career as a youngster with Nottingham Forest, spending eight-years with the club as both a trainee and a first-team starter. His performances in the heart of the defence saw Spurs register an interest in the 28-year-old, and in January 2004; they made their move for the centre-back in a double swoop that involved wide-man Andy Reid.

Many Spurs fans were shocked by the move for the England international, with many championing for Reid to join; pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Dawson, who made his debut in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield (featuring THAT Erik Edman goal). He continued to grow into his new surroundings, especially when partnered by the experienced Ledley King.

Up until last season, the 28-year-old featured predominantly in the heart of the Spurs defence, his finest season coming in the 2006/07 campaign where he went on to make an impressive 58 appearances in all competitions. Often captaining the side in the absence of King, it aided in bringing Dawson on as a player and allowed him to grow into the role of a senior member of the squad.

Many Spurs fans were shocked by the move for the England international, with many championing for [Andy] Reid to join

His campaign was seriously blighted by injury last year after suffering from an Achilles problem in the 5-1 defeat to eventual champions Manchester City, before rupturing ankle ligaments in the 3-1 FA Cup win over Stevenage. The problems saw Dawson make just seven appearances in all competitions as Spurs secured a fourth placed finish.

Harry Redknapp was a keen admirer of the defender during his stint at White Hart Lane, but under Andre Villas-Boas; his input was likely to be more of a hindrance. The 35-year-old prefers to play a high defensive line, utilising quick centre-backs in order to make up ground should the back-four be caught out.

The likes of Younes Kaboul, Jan Vertonghen and Steven Caulker will likely flourish under the system as they are quicker off the mark. Dawson, on the other hand, would be found out far too easily, with the 28-year-old possessing a similar turning circle to that of an oil tanker, much like John Terry at Chelsea, which is why the system failed during his time at Stamford Bridge.

That isn’t to say Dawson is a bad player; far from it in fact. His passionate displays in the heart of the Spurs back-line have seen fans instil him as a firm favourite. One of the best headerers of the ball in the Premiership and his no nonsense, heart on the sleeve performances will likely go down well at the St Mary's Stadium.

Under Andre Villas-Boas; his input was likely to be more of a hindrance

While I’d be gutted to be see Dawson depart in January, it’s painstakingly obvious that he doesn’t suit the system introduced by Villas-Boas. Southampton will have themselves a Premier League proven defender who still possess international credentials who will improve their back-line and is a skipper in waiting for Saints.

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