I don’t think that anyone would have been particularly surprised if the club had announced over the summer that Jonathan Woodgate would be retiring through injury.
Woodgate’s barely played in the last year or so and was sent to the US and Australia, in an effort to rid him of a groin injury. Then came the news this week that he was back doing fitness training, which was followed by an ultimatum by Harry Redknapp.
“We’ve really got to monitor him and see where he’s at because it’s been a year now for Jonathan and he’s really got to be coming back and playing now.
“If he doesn’t, if he’s not going to be back pretty soon, he’s got big problems. Sebastien Bassong did well for us last year so we’ll see how we go.”
You can see Harry’s point. We have to name a 25-man squad for both the Premier League and hopefully the Champions League next season. If Woodgate is to be included in that squad, then he needs to prove that his fitness can be relied upon.
With Ledley always likely to miss games and break down every now and again, can we really afford to register another player who has been plagued with injuries throughout his career? I’m a big fan of Woodgate, but since he has been out Michael Dawson has progressed rapidly, while Sebastien Bassong was very dependable last season.
Throw in other players who can play at centre back like Kaboul, Corluka and Huddlestone, and you can see that Woodgate has to get back in action during pre-season if Harry is to take a punt on him. Whilst a player of Woodgate’s quality would always be welcomed in a squad, we don’t really ‘need’ him and it wouldn’t be a disaster if he didn’t come back.
So what happens if he doesn’t get registered? Woodgate signed a three and a half year contract when he joined Spurs, which runs out at the end of this coming season. Presuming that he could play again at some point this season, perhaps we could loan him somewhere, or maybe flog him on a cut price transfer.
One things for sure and that’s the fact that we won’t be getting the £7m back that we shelled out on him. Still, for that goal against Chelsea at Wembley alone, I think that it was money well spent.