Don’t check the January gossip columns for news about Danny Rose’s next move, he’ll be going absolutely nowhere. That’s according to an interview he gave to the Evening Standard on Wednesday.
In it, Rose lashed out angrily at Tottenham’s hierarchy for trying to sell him over the summer and he made it plainly clear that he intends to see out the remaining eighteen months of his contract.
"My contract is up in 18 months' time and I'll leave the football club then. People [in the media] can save their time trying to get stuff ready for January about me being sold.
"Because I can tell you now: it ain't happening. I know what people were trying to do in the summer... There were no bids — that was rubbish."
This is a process which began in August 2017, with Rose’s decision to grant an interview to The Sun. In it, he took aim at his club’s recruiting policy, he told the reporter in question that he didn’t feel that he or his teammates were remunerated fairly, and that, having spent a decade away from his native Yorkshire, he was like to return north before his career ended.
It was antagonistic and, given which outlet he used to publish those grievances, it was presumably intended to be so.
It also, on the basis of this latest communique, makes understanding his current position very difficult. The logic seems to be that Rose has wanted to leave Tottenham for some time and that he would like to earn a wage which he feels to be commensurate with his ability.
And to achieve that he’s willing to sit out the remaining months of a contract which he - apparently - remains insulted by and to spend whatever is left of his prime playing for a team that he wants to leave. And he wants to do that, in part, out of loyalty to Mauricio Pochettino who, by his acknowledgement, has shown great faith in him. A faith, not incidentally, that he's repaying by repeatedly airing these grievances in public and making the atmosphere Pochettino is contending with that much more toxic.
It doesn’t make sense. None of this does. There must be more to it, because Rose’s stance is a very obvious contradiction. It also seems so unnecessary, too, because there appears to be no great aim here: he wants the world to know how unhappy he is with Daniel Levy – he’d hardly be the first – but he won’t describe the reasons for that conflict with anything other than vague innuendo.
Without that detail, it’s extremely difficult to make sense of his objective. What is that he hopes to achieve by continually shelling his own camp? What is the value in making this part of the public discourse?
To add a further layer, it’s also at odds with the kind of person we know Danny Rose to be. He’s erudite and thoughtful, particularly on issues of race and mental health, and he’s shown a capacity to discuss those sensitive issues in a breadth that many of his peers couldn't or wouldn’t.
And yet with Tottenham he can’t say or do anything without issuing a volley of friendly fire. Given the intelligence of the person in question, that has to be intentional – perhaps it’s driven by this secret animus between him and the club’s board, maybe even contempt for the team’s supporters, or – as seems most likely – a combination of both?
Two years after that first salvo, fired through The Sun’s cannons no less, nobody is really in position to offer any clarity.
Of course, his behaviour remains his prerogative alone and that extends to what he says and to whom he speaks. But it’s such a shame. Rose’s career has faded since serious injury, but he was briefly a wonderful, indefatigable player and, as half of that full-back tandem with Kyle Walker, part of the power which ran through those first Pochettino teams. So while his legacy at the club isn’t quite cast in bronze, he should be remembered fondly – as a good player, a socially aware person, and an equal asset to the team and the sport.
In time perhaps that will still be the case. For now though, without the benefit of anyone understanding why, he seems determined to portray himself as the saboteur that Tottenham hardly need.
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Seb Stafford-Bloor is a football writer at Tifo Football and member of the Football Writers' Association. He was formerly a regularly columnist for the FourFourTwo website, covering all aspects of the game, including tactical analysis, reaction pieces, longer-term trends and critiquing the increasingly shady business of football's financial side and authorities' decision-making.
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