Face it, you missed this. - Clive Brunskill
Tottenham Hotspur's issues with viable go-to guys for central midfield may be eased in the coming weeks as news breaks that Scott Parker has resumed training with the side.
Leadership. Courage. Grit. All qualities that you might argue Tottenham Hotspur have been missing in the middle of the pitch in recent weeks, if you're the sort of person that happens to like being correct about things. Since all of our months were irretrievably ruined by the news that Mousa Dembele would be spending a few weeks on the sidelines with a hip injury, Spurs have struggled to dig in against the sides that we've played and have surrended the impetus to teams from WIgan to Man City time and time again.
Clearly, the reintroduction of our brave RAF fighter pilot Scotty Parker, a defensive midfielder renowned more for his persistence and clinical tackling than his technique, won't solve all of our problems with taking a firm stranglehold of the midfield. However, his presence on the roster provides Andre Villas-Boas at the very least with a little more flexibility and tactical leeway than he has enjoyed lately, and for that reason the news that he has returned to light training should be celebrated by the Spurs faithful.
Considering the similarity in the roles both have played for Tottenham in recent years, many would assume that Parker would slot back into this current Spurs side as an understudy for Sandro Ranieri, one of the few providers of bright moments during the weeks of grey mediocrity the side has experienced. As Brian Mechanick and I touched upon briefly on the latest edition of Wheeler Dealer Radio, however, Parker's re-emergence in the side could produce a couple of tactical reshuffles that might help to turn around the side's ailing form, should AVB decide to gamble on the formula deployed for the upcoming stretch of games.
Perhaps most interesting of the developments that could stem from Parker's return would be movement towards a formation that unseats Sandro from his destroyer role altogether and pushes him higher up the pitch into the Yaya Toure role, as a guy who presses high for the side and turns up the heat for the sides Tottenham come up against while Parker carries the pale behind next to a playmaker like Huddlestone or Carroll. Of course, this possibility would require to Sandro to take a big step up to a level of attacking prowess that hasn't yet been seen from the sometime Brazilian captain, yet considering his age and ceiling, it's not like the idea sits well outside the realm of conceivability.
Of course, even if Parker coming back from injury doesn't prompt a major tactical rethink, there is still considerable cause to herald his return. His never-say-die attitude and disciplined defensive covering work could see him taking up the role of an influential impact sub this season, coming on to close out tight games and help Tottenham nail down three points at the death against resurgent opposition. You know, like we've needed someone to do all season so far?
Welcome back, Captain. With you back, the sky really could be the limit for Spurs.