Aaron Lennon: a decade in Lilywhite
Aaron Lennon is uncatchable, a blur of motion who can fly past defenders at breakneck pace. But in the Premier League, pace is not always enough.
The 28-year-old winger has now found himself surplus to requirements in North London, and with a new challenge ahead it is probably time to look back on his time at the lane.
At home in Tottenham
From the very beginning it was exhilarating to watch Lennon play for Spurs, causing havoc with direct and confident running under the watchful eye of manager Martin Jol.
Lennon contributed more in a tactical sense than is commonly acknowledged. Without the ball the winger matured into a hard working, disciplined player, and although this may have taken something away from his attacking potential, it’s important to remember that his graft was not pointless.
In an attacking trio with Bale and Van der Vaart, Lennon often pulled defences out of position without even getting on the ball. Sprinting tirelessly in behind and pulling defensive midfielders, centre backs and full backs out of position, he opened up room on the edge of the box for VDV and the Welshman to show their star quality.
He once even played in the hole away to Chelsea, unsettling the normally unshakeable Claude Makelele, and almost orchestrating an unheard of victory away at Stamford Bridge.
Hitting the back of the net
Lennon scored some hugely important goals. Which moment was more glorious for a Spurs supporter — that last minute equaliser at the new library, or the winner against Chelsea at White Hart Lane?
In the ill fated 2005/06 champions league chasing season, Spurs were only able to even challenge for fourth spot because of a 60th minute winner against Bolton in a game which looked destined for a stalemate.
Lennon’s form at Spurs in the past 3 years has been shaky, with his confidence to run at players seeming to have disappeared.
A loan spell at Everton last season was successful and a new club seems to be the solution to the right winger rediscovering his best form.
Hopefully he can return to his old vibrant self, wherever he ends up. Hugging the touchline and receiving passes in behind to run on to, or picking up the ball on the halfway line with just a full-back to beat.
End of an era
Robbie Keane scored one of his best goals against Blackburn in a 3–2 thriller in the 2005–06 season, and when questioned about the game afterwards he said that Spurs were lucky to have a player like Aaron Lennon.
I feel lucky to have watched him.
Ten years with one club is a great achievement.
There’s only one Aaron Lennon.
Note: This was originally written (but not published) in January when Lennon was set to join Hull, for this reason there is very little reference to his half season at Goodison Park.