David Beckham Will Be More ‘Mentor’ than ‘Tormentor’ for Spurs
“Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others”
So far this season, Tottenham are enjoying somewhat of a reputation as the darlings of English football.
The nation seems to have united behind their swashbuckling attacking style. The love-in began when they gate-crashed the Big Four’s Champions League soirée back in May and barred the rather flashy Manchester City in the meantime. Then it was Spurs’ guarantee of goals (at both ends), particularly after the turgid World Cup, which ignited such unity in the most partisan of all sports.
Now Spurs look set to add the golden boy of English football, David Beckham. It’s enough to make any Arsenal fan violently queasy.
But Beckham’s arrival may have more of an impact away from the pitch. For starters, he doesn’t really fit the Spurs blueprint.
This season, they have been lauded for their quick, incisive counter attacking football with Gareth Bale at the heart of almost everything. Rafael van der Vaart’s breakaway goal at Aston Villa recently was a perfect example of this. Aaron Lennon looks well equipped to provide a similar injection of pace on the opposing flank from Bale since his return from injury. Beckham is certainly a different type of winger to both Bale and Lennon. His strengths lie elsewhere. It is his range of passing, his whipped crosses and his work rate which have defined him. Indeed as his career has progressed, Beckham has been stationed in more central berths. But creativity from the middle of midfield has not been a problem for Spurs either. In van der Vaart and Luka Modrić they have two of the best technicians in the league.
Then there is the issue of Beckham’s advancing years. Age may just be a number, particularly for a player with such vintage qualities as Beckham has, but he is coming off another full season with LA Galaxy. He’s spent the past two MLS off-seasons with AC Milan and his globe trotting canoodling with FIFA’s top delegates whilst ultimately fruitless will also have had an effect on the 35-year-old’s body.
The frantic speed of the Premier League offers a different proposition to the pedestrian pace Beckham and the rest of his mature AC Milan teammates enjoyed in Serie A too.
But Beckham’s influence extends far beyond the white lines at the Lane and perhaps this is more important. A player with his experience, stature and his status alone can only benefit a young, hungry Spurs side hoping to progress.
Spurs are in unknown territory in the latter stages of the Champions League and few can match Beckham’s experience when it comes to European club football’s grandest stage. Beckham has appeared in over 100 Champions League games and along with other more experienced statesmen like van der Vaart and William Gallas, Beckham’s nous could prove pivotal.
Beckham is also highly respected among his fellow professionals. The passion, drive and hunger which epitomised his Manchester United days are still vividly evident now. To many at Spurs he will be seen as an idol. They will be keen to listen and keen to learn, something which doesn’t always come easy for modern day footballers.
His arrival could be most influential for Lennon and Bale. Both are young, raw wingers with a blooming enthusiasm in need of a further guidance. Theo Walcott, who also matches that description, had nothing but praise for Beckham when he trained with Arsenal.
So in a PR sense, something Beckham knows all too well, the move adds up as his mentoring abilities will be a vital tool in nurturing Tottenham’s bright talents.
But on the field, Beckham has very little to offer Spurs. There is a chance that LA Galaxy will refuse the loan and Beckham will only train with Tottenham. Some may see this as a pointless exercise but ultimately it may prove just as productive for the club.