Harry Redknapp made a big gamble when he signed former Arsenal and Chelsea defender William Gallas for Tottenham in August 2010.
The Frenchman’s past meant he had to prove to the White Hart Lane crowd, but a starring role as captain in the 3-2 win over Arsenal at the Emirates won over the majority of fans.
Since then, Gallas has racked up over 60 appearances for Spurs, and continued to feature this season, primarily in the Europa League. However, after two error-strewn games away to Internazionale, in which Andre Villas-Boas’ men nearly threw away a 3-0 aggregate lead, and the recent 2-2 draw against FC Basel.
Gallas was an ideal candidate to help new signing Jan Vertonghen and hot prospect Steven Caulker integrate into the Spurs team given his vast experience, but Gallas now looks both slow and rusty. Unable to play the high line and offside trap that AVB wants his team to use, Gallas’ lack of height and circumspect ability on the ball makes him appear useless in this current Tottenham team.
He picked up a clumsy yellow card in the first half against Basel, which then led to Gallas altering his game so he did not pick up a second yellow - this lead to Basel’s first goal.
Gallas was also caught out of position, or found lacking in concentration, which allowed Basel to have clear efforts on goal, and the 84-capped France international was lucky not to pick up a second yellow when he brought down a Basel attacker in the second half.
The continued use of Gallas would be acceptable if there were no other candidates for the role, but both club captain Michael Dawson and England international Caulker started on the bench. Dawson has been used sparingly in Europe, but it is alarming that AVB will not use the young but talented Caulker instead of the old and rickety Gallas.
A defensive change was made in the second half, with Dawson coming on, but surprisingly it was left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto who was substituted, not Gallas.
To compound his day, Gallas hobbled with a calf injury that put Spurs down to ten men. That injury also inadvertently led to Gareth Bale’s injury, as the Welshman had to fill in at left back.
About defender Gallas, Villas-Boas said to reporters: "he may have a small tear on his calf but it is about the assessment tomorrow."
Spurs fans will be ambivalent about Gallas and more concerned about the injuries to Bale and Aaron Lennon. Gallas’ contract is set to expire in the summer. After his recent displays, he will not be missed.
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