Can Caulker earn a spot in the team?
Steven Caulker is back with Tottenham Hotspur after a year with Swansea and then a summer with the Great Britain Olympic squad, but after that much time away, is it possible that Spurs could forget about him? No chance.
Tottenham have a new manager in Andres Villas-Boas who wants to play out of the back and play with a high line, two things that play to Caulker's strengths. The key for him now is getting back to training with the club and proving himself to a manager that he has yet to meet. Oh, and do it with less than two weeks before the season starts.
"He [Villas-Boas] seems a very interesting guy with lots of great ideas," Caulker said. "It's a big positive for the club and he seems to put his trust in the young lads.
"The Olympics has been the perfect way for me to show the new manager what I can do and to make sure I am not out of sight."
The challenge for Caulker will be finding a place in a team full of centerbacks. Younes Kaboul was arguably Tottenham's player of the year last season and Jan Vertonghen was bought with the expectation that he be an excellent starting defender. Then behind them is still William Gallas and Michael Dawson, two proven and experienced defenders when healthy so there isn't a spot waiting for Caulker. He is going to have to go out in training and earn any playing time he gets.
Gallas and Dawson might struggle under Villas-Boas, though. Neither is particularly fast and really struggle when they are asked to turn and run, which they will have to do if Villas-Boas has his way. That opens the door for Caulker. The question is whether he can walk through it because if he can, Spurs have a first three defenders that can stand up against almost any in the Premier League.