COMMENTARY | For the second time in 2013, a Tottenham Hotspur player has been named Barclays Premier League Player of the Month. Critics claiming that Spurs are nothing more than a "one-man" team may have to adjust their way of thinking just a bit.
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has earned POTM honors for the month of March. Vertonghen, arguably the top Premier League signing of last summer's transfer window, was a key man in each of Tottenham's three March victories. He routinely shut down attacking sequences in the club's 2-1 victory over rivals Arsenal on March 3. Vertonghen's second half goal against Inter on March 7 put that match to bed with over 35 minutes remaining. He opened the scoring in Tottenham's final contest of the month, a 2-1 victory at Swansea City, and he picked up an assist on what was ultimately that game's match-winner. The Belgium international also notched a brace in his club's 3-2 loss at Liverpool.
In a video uploaded to the team's official website and YouTube page, Vertonghen discussed his ability to find the back of the net as a center back. "I think the opponents sometimes (don't give) attention to defenders," the former Ajax man explained. "My secret is maybe Gareth Bale. He had some amazing assists. I'm very happy to score these goals and win this trophy."
Vertonghen also spoke about the importance of each of Tottenham's upcoming Premier League fixtures, starting with Everton on April 7. "I think we have big players who are used to the pressure," he stated. "It's a final every game so we have to perform every week and every midweek. We know we have to win every game to be up in the four and to go to the next round of Europa League. It's good pressure for us, and it can be good motivation."
Vertonghen is the third individual from the club to receive a monthly award this season. Gareth Bale took home the February Player of the Month award after he scored five goals in Tottenham's three Premier League fixtures. Andre Villas-Boas has twice received Manager of the Month honors in 2012-13.
It has often seemed as if Vertonghen has been overshadowed in Tottenham news since joining the club last July. His arrival to Spurs took a backseat to the departures of Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric. Regardless of the fact that Vertonghen has maybe been AVB's most consistent player since September, some see the previously mentioned Bale as the only reason Spurs have a shot at earning Champions League this spring. The re-emergence of fan-favorite Michael Dawson also helped in making Vertonghen somewhat of an afterthought for certain analysts and supporters.
Whether featured out at the left or in the middle, Vertonghen has undeniably been Tottenham's best defender this season. He hasn't just replaced club legend and former player Ledley King in the squad. Sooner or later, "Super Jan" may become "Captain Jan," or, perhaps just as important, the new "Mr. Spurs."
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, RBNY, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Barclays Premier League
- Gareth Bale
- Jan Vertonghen