Rose discusses the challenges of his dual role as a full-back at Spurs
EXCLUSIVE: Danny Rose admits it is a challenge to balance his attacking and defensive roles as a modern full-back, but he believes he has improved from last season and is happy with his performances in a rapidly-improving Tottenham team.
The 24-year-old, who received his first England call-up in August, has scored two goals and set up a further three this season, apparently winning his battle with fellow left-back Ben Davies after starting the last two games against top-four rivals Arsenal and Liverpool.
However, critics have pointed out that three of the four goals that Spurs conceded across those two matches came down Spurs’ left flank – including a penalty when Rose tripped Daniel Sturridge in the box at Anfield last Tuesday night.
Asked if is a difficult balancing act to get forward and provide width in attacking areas while also performing his defensive duties as a member of the back four, Rose said: “Yes, especially in our team.
“Everyone knows Kyle [Walker] and I like to get forward, but I think now when we do get forward we’ve got a bit of security behind us.
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“It is hard but it’s something that I do enjoy doing, getting forward – and I feel as if I have the levels of fitness to do that now for a full 90 minutes.
“First and foremost my job is to defend and try to limit my opposing right winger, to allow as few crosses as possible. That’s my job, and then anything else is a bonus – I do enjoy going forward and trying to get assists and chip in with goals.
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“But it’s been the same for the last few years where generally if there has been any criticism it has been due to me. It’s something I don’t worry about. I just try to do my job and as long as I’ve got a manager who has a lot of faith in me then I don’t mind.
“I do see that the fans and people who have had something to say always try to make out that there’s been a problem with Tottenham’s left side, and I do read and see the criticism.
“People are entitled to their opinion but as long as I can walk off the pitch knowing that I’ve given everything for the team and the club then I don’t care.
“I’m happy with how I’ve done this season. I feel as if I’ve improved from last season and, as a player, you should always want to try to do better than you have done in the previous season. I’m happy I’ve had my share of the games with Ben, and as a team we’ve been brilliant recently.”
Tottenham have had a rare and much-needed break after their late 3-2 defeat at Liverpool last Tuesday, having already played 41 games this season.
However, they now face a busy schedule again, starting with Thursday’s Europa League tie against Fiorentina at White Hart Lane in the last 32.
The Italians’ squad includes the largely-forgotten Micah Richards, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester City.
Richards became England’s youngest ever defender when he made his debut for the Three Lions at the age of 18 in 2006, but he fell out of favour at City and has also struggled to make an impact for Fiorentina, making just 12 appearances since his summer move to the continent.
Rose, who played with Richards with England’s Under-21s and Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic team, said: “He’s from the same neck of the woods that I’m from - he’s from Leeds and I’m from Doncaster so I’ve known Micah for a while.
“I’m very surprised [at what’s happened]. He’s a great leader, a great athlete and a very good footballer. One of the lads said the other day that he’s out there [in Italy] and he’s not been getting much game time at the moment. But he’s a very good player and I hope one day he can come back to the Premier League and play regularly.
“I’d rather he didn’t play against us though because I know how well he can do. I played with him and I’ve played against him, and playing against him was very difficult and I didn’t get much joy.”
When Gareth Bale was asked to name his toughest opponent in 2013 he opted for Richards, and Rose added: “Even when I wasn’t playing when Gaz was here, it was a battle that I very much looked forward to watching between those two because they’re both very good athletes and it’s just a shame that he’s not playing over here at the moment.
“It’s going to be a difficult game against Fiorentina. They’ve got a very good team and once that game starts we’ve got games thick and fast again so we’ll be trying to do well in that competition and preparing for the [Capital One Cup] final.
“If you look at the teams that our manager’s put out in this competition [in Europe], we’ve always taken it seriously. He’s always put a full-strength team out whenever he can, and it will be no different this time.”
Rose was speaking as he made a surprise visit to South Harringay Junior School on behalf of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.
The club’s charitable body delivers multi-sports sessions within a number of schools, encouraging sports participation and healthier lifestyles amongst young people, while assisting the schools in their PE sessions.
Rose took part in a number of drills with South Harringay’s Year 3 students, as well as taking questions from the youngsters and signing autographs.
He added: “The school playground is a bit of a distant memory at the moment but I remember when I was younger my dad used to say ‘these are the best days of your life’, and they really are.
“I think any kids who are here, they should enjoy the time at school and try to do the best that they can.
“Having always wanted to be a footballer, PE lessons were always the highlight of my time at school, and it’s so important that kids are encouraged to take part in sport at a young age to keep them active and help them make new friends.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs