Most of you have probably seen Giovani dos Santos' cracking goal that killed off the U.S.'s Gold Cup chances. If you're anything like me, you were thinking: "why can't he bloody well do that for Spurs?!?!" while throwing anything within arm's reach against the wall.
It's clearly not for lack of talent - bad players don't play for the Barcelona senior team, even if it was only a handful of games.
It's not a matter of competition- he had a year-and-a-half after signing on before Gareth Bale became the Bale we know (and love) today, and Modric was still finding his feet.
You could argue it's an attitude thing- he's mouthed off to the press a few times and he's apparently quite fond of the London nightlife (Ledley needs someone to go out with).
You could also argue it's a lack of games- he's featured only ten times, eight as a sub.
Then there's the fact that most South American and Spanish players struggle to adapt to the fast-paced, physical nature of English football. Blackpool on a Wednesday is a far cry from playing in front of 100,000 at the Nou Camp.
But I would argue the biggest reason, the thing that will forever stop Gio from being a world class player is this: he's very, very good, but just not good... enough.
When he plays for Mexico, Gio is given the license to do pretty much whatever he wants. He generally lines up behind the striker, but throughout the game he drifts from wing to wing, drops deep to get the ball or runs beyond the line to latch onto a through ball. He does all of these things very well and is arguably Mexico's most important player. Unfortunately for Gio, that's also his biggest problem.
Some players, while incredibly talented, can only be effective when the team is built around them. When they're not the focus of the team, they drift in and out of games and struggle to make an impact.
White Hart Lane seems to be Mecca for this type of player.
Adel Taraabt's Tottenham career arc is remarkably similar to Gio's. He's since found a home being the star at QPR. But send him to Chelsea or Arsenal and he fades into the background again.
Darren Bent scored bags of goals for Charlton and did so again for Sunderland after leaving Spurs. For the majority of his career, Bent has played as a lone striker, with ten other players trying to get him the ball in goalscoring positions. For Spurs, he was ‘just another player' and couldn't produce the same form.
One could even argue Dimitar Berbatov falls under the same heading. Great when he was Tottenham's best player, struggled for a much stronger United team.
Even my beloved Rafael van der Vaart (my man-crush on him rose to slightly worrying levels at the start of the season) and Luka Modric fit the same description. This season Harry gave them both a lot of freedom to float around during games and they were both fantastic. When given a rigid role on the left side, they struggled to reach the same heights.
In response to criticism of Glenn Hoddle as a ‘luxury player', Tottenham great Danny Blanchflower once said: "Hoddle a luxury? It's the bad players who're a luxury."
I think that's true, but only to a certain point.
Every ‘luxury player' has a level. When they're the best player on a team, they have the freedom to do the things that make them so good. If they ever play above their level, they become a liability, and unfortunately for Giovani dos Santos, Spurs are above his level. He's not good enough to be the focus of the team and not disciplined enough to fit in at another position.
Obviously, you can make a fantastic career out of being the best player on a bad team.
On the other hand, ‘bad players' can fill a vital role on great teams. Park Ji-Sung started ahead of Nani for Man United in the Champions League final. I don't think many people would argue that Park was the better footballer, but he fills his role far better than Nani does.
Gio is probably better than Park too, but unless he finds a good fit for him, he'll never fulfill the potential all of us were so excited about.
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