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Micky van de Ven: standing out in the chaos

By The Boy -

Giving Spurs’ Player of the Season award to a defender after the club shipped the second-
the highest number of goals (61) in a campaign since the First World War might seem

However, there can be little doubt about it: centre-back Micky van de Ven was
Spurs’ most outstanding player this season.

Ange’s firefighter

Of course, the context that is badly needed is Ange Postecoglou’s risk-and-reward philosophy
which sees Spurs deploy a high defensive line.

Essentially, the Spurs manager is not asking his players to avoid conceding at all costs but
rather play in an enterprising way where the onus is on possession and a sustained attack over
90 minutes.

Fulfilling the Australian’s wishes will always leave Spurs vulnerable to attack, so
Postecoglou’s strategy relies heavily on athletic centre-backs adept at recovering
runs, manoeuvring out of tight spaces, and reading the game by identifying potential danger.
In other words, Spurs’ manager needs defenders who can put out fires which is exactly what
van de Ven does when patrolling the wide expanses of green grass left open when Spurs go

On the occasions when Spurs are exposed after losing possession, it is a heart-in-mouth
experience for fans as they witness a smattering of backtracking defenders trying to repel the
threat. This is where van de Ven stands out in the chaos as he has proved capable of breaking
up an attack when scoring looked easier.

The Dutchman’s greatest weapon in doing this so successfully is his speed.

Tellingly, there isn’t a player in the English top flight who can beat van de Ven in a footrace.
This became evident when they became the fastest player in Premier League history since
records began in 2020 after the Tottenham star clocked a top speed of 37.38 kph during a 3-2
win against Brentford.

The reality is that without van de Ven’s ability to catch any breakaway attacker, Spurs would
be unable to throw the kitchen sink at the opposition in the final third. This is ultimately why
the Dutchman was voted the Player of the Season despite Spurs conceding heavily; there
would be no Angeball without van de Ven’s invaluable knack for doing the job of more than
one defender.

Koeman wants a Micky masterclass in Germany

Perhaps what is even more impressive is that this is van de Ven’s first season in the Premier
League. Defenders often need time to acclimatise to the pace of the league but it is the
attackers who have to adjust their movements and runs to nullify van de Ven’s speed.
This trend is likely to repeat itself at EURO 2024 in Germany with Ronald Koeman set to use
van de Ven in a bid to give the Netherlands more of an insurance policy at the back when
they go forward.

Koeman has often been criticised for being too defensive in his 4-2-3-1 shape but having a
a player like van de Ven will give the 61-year-old the option of appeasing his
detractors by throwing caution to the wind.

Backing van de Ven at EURO 2024 

Any Spurs fans looking to bet on Euros markets this summer can back van de Ven’s Holland
in the outright offering at odds of 16/1 with these sign-up bonuses from the likes of bet365,
William Hill, and Betfred. In some cases, these bookmakers are offering as much as £50 in
bonuses to be used on EURO 2024.

Other Spurs stars at EURO 2024

James Maddison looked like being in Gareth Southgate’s England squad but was one of the
last to be culled from the preliminary squad. His indifferent form after returning from injury
in the second half of the season was likely to have had an impact on Southgate’s selection

Romanian defender, Radu Dragusin is one of the mainstays of Romania’s backline. Although
he’s not had the game time he’d have wanted since joining from Genoa, Dragusin has a
chance to show Postecoglu what he’s made of on the continent’s biggest footballing stage this summer. He has immense aerial prowess, just like van de Ven, and has been a little
unfortunate to be on the bench so much for Spurs this term.

Seasoned midfielder, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will also be an important part of the Danish
national squad. Although his 2023/24 campaign was quiet by his standards, Hojbjerg has
stacks of experience at international level, racking up 77 caps and scoring ten goals. A good
tournament for Hojbjerg could see him return to North London with renewed vigor for the
2024/25 season.

Finally, Tottenham’s ever-present Italian goalkeeper, Guglielmo Vicario, has also received a
call-up to Italy’s national squad. He made his debut for Italy in March, keeping a clean sheet
in a 2-0 victory over Ecuador, and could become the understudy to Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Bring on the mayhem

Whether van de Ven returns to Hotspur Way in July with a winner’s medal around his neck
remains to be seen. What is a certainty is that when the 2024/2025 Premier League campaign starts, the towering Dutchman with the speed of Usain Bolt will be alive to the danger and ready once more to stand out in the mayhem.

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