One for The Future: Steven Caulker
At the beginning of the Premier League season, bookmakers across the country were earmarking Swansea City as certain relegation candidates. Their apparent rejection to acknowledge the script that had been written for them is largely due to their defensive heroics. At the heart of these heroics is 20 year old, on loan Tottenham centre half, Steven Caulker.
Caulker already has football league experience, having had successful loan spells at Yeovil Town and Bristol City in the previous two seasons. The leap to the country’s elite league is a test for any young player. However, Caulker has proven that he has the potential to excel at this level.
Taking heed of manager Brendan Rogers’s playing style; Caulker ignores the easy option of playing the long ball game. He is comfortable on the ball and always looks for a progressive pass. His strong relationship with Wales international Ashley Williams is the foundation for much of the Swans’ attacking passages. He is also capable of influencing attacks further up the pitch, as was evident with his chipped pass which led to Sigurdsson’s opener away at Wigan.
Not only is he a calm head in possession, but a fine athlete. Caulker was borough champion at 400 metres for four years in a row during his time at secondary school. Due to Rogers’s football philosophy of building attacks from the back, it is only natural that, at times, players will be caught in possession. But with Caulker’s pace an important component of Swansea’s back four, he is often relied upon to cover his defensive teammates and halt any counter attacking threats from the opposition.
Swansea have kept twelve clean sheets in the current campaign; an achievement in itself for a team that was promoted through the play-offs last season. Being such an integral part of a successful Premier League team will only breed confidence into the young defender. His evidently mature displays have consequently highlighted a likeness to that of a young Rio Ferdinand.
The fact that Caulker has impressed playing for a team that likes to play eye-catching football will only increase his chances of breaking into the Tottenham XI next season. If he is able to build on this success, and maybe get on the score sheet more times that at present, he is sure to be a stalwart of a Tottenham team with a bright future.