Danny Rose: What he said, and what it means for him and Tottenham
Tottenham's apparently serene preparations for the new Premier League season were shaken on Thursday after England left-back Danny Rose gave an explosive interview to The Sun.
Spurs have not moved in the transfer market during the summer and Rose demanded top-class new signings, while declaring he would be willing to leave the club if that was the best way to win honours and improve his wages.
Following Kyle Walker's £50 million departure to Manchester City, Rose's outpouring throws a harsh light on Spurs' prospects of sustained success
The north London side's impressive progress under Mauricio Pochettino over the past two seasons has been rightly lauded but, following Kyle Walker's £50 million departure to Manchester City, Rose's outpouring throws a harsh light on Spurs' prospects of sustained success.
Pochettino's men travel to newly promoted Newcastle United on Sunday before taking up residence at their temporary home of Wembley to face defending champions Chelsea.
Here, we look at how Rose's observations might linger over this period and some possible longer-term consequences...
"If I get to levels I reached last season – and this goes out to everybody – I will make sure I get what I am worth. I don't know how much longer I might have at this level. I'm not going to be stupid enough not to try to get the most out of it – medals, trophies and salary."
While it would be easy to dismiss Rose as the latest example of money-grabbing entitlement in football, this is an issue that threatens to derail much of what Pochettino and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy have built. Levy famously runs his ship with stringent wage restraint, leaving many of Tottenham's leading stars operating on salaries reportedly well below the market rate.
Any concerns over a lack of new arrivals after last year's second-place finish in the Premier League have been largely offset by the boost of Harry Kane and Dele Alli hanging around for another tilt at honours and the not-unreasonable observation that Kieran Trippier might be a better long-term prospect at right-back than Walker.
But Levy is likely to face a crunch decision in the near future over whether Tottenham keep the wage structure within which they've built one of the finest teams in England, or the key performers within that side. At present, there is an uneasy balance that Rose has unhelpfully nudged.
"I will say this too — I will play up north. I don't know exactly when, but I will get back up north and play some football somewhere."
Rose declared himself to be opinionated at the outset of the interview – it's a good job he didn't make similar claims on subtlety.
The Doncaster-born defender's comments won't have gone unnoticed in Manchester. Pep Guardiola voiced his admiration for Rose along with Walker last season and could be tempted to complete his Tottenham full-backs set, even allowing for Benjamin Mendy and Danilo already arriving at the Etihad Stadium. Pointedly, Rose stated Walker, "deserves what he is earning" at City.
Across town, Jose Mourinho might also view Rose as a favourable option. United started the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid with Matteo Darmian – a right-back by trade – at left-back, and Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo still on the treatment table. Mourinho dabbled with a 3-5-2 during pre-season and Rose excelled as a wing-back under Pochettino last term.
"I'm not saying buy 10 players, I'd love to see two or three — and not players you have to Google and say, 'Who's that?' I mean well-known players."
Once again, it doesn't take a huge leap of the imagination to see what Rose is driving at here. Tottenham's buys, certainly from the summer, have been unremarkable at best. While the left-back's sketchy knowledge of world football shouldn't be used to critique Pochettino's more recent recruits, their scant returns on the pitch make them fair game for criticism.
Vincent Janssen arrived from AZ Alkmaar with a prolific reputation but didn't score a Premier League goal from open play until April; Moussa Sissoko mislaid his Euro 2016 form as quickly as he found it; and Georges-Kevin N'Koudou disappeared from view almost entirely.
Victor Wanyama did add muscle to midfield and Rose wants to see this area bolstered by Everton's Ross Barkley, who it's safe to assume doesn't feature on his internet search history.
"Anyone who says we don't need any signings, I'm not buying into that. As a starting XI we have one of the best in the league, without a shadow of a doubt, but after that ..."
In the comment most likely to provoke awkward exchanges with certain dressing-room colleagues, Rose again adds to the impression that this terrific Tottenham team are at a crossroads. Arguably no other starting XI in the Premier League is as well-grooved and tuned in to their manager's vision than Pochettino's Tottenham.
One side effect of this is that when the likes of Janssen and Sissoko step in for Kane or Christian Eriksen, the drop-off is particularly steep. Spurs have reached a point where pretty much any player who would demonstrably improve their first team will command higher wages than those currently in it.
Something has to give, and it would be unwise to place this issue on the backburner to focus on Rose's status.