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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Monday, 25 February 2008

Alan Hansen's column

Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

Juande Ramos
If Juande Ramos can keep Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate fit then Tottenham are really in business

Tottenham's big trouble for quite a while has been in defence.

But on Sunday we saw that in Jonathan Woodgate and Alan Hutton, manager Juande Ramos has made two great signings.

Spurs beat Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley on Sunday to lift the Carling Cup and in doing so ended nearly a decade without winning a major trophy.

And the contribution of Woodgate, Hutton and fellow defender Ledley King played a massive part in their victory.

Hutton gives Tottenham so many different options.

He is a solid defender who loves to get forward but most importantly his height is a real asset for Spurs at the back.

Since he has arrived I have been hugely impressed with the former Rangers man - and the same applies to Woodgate.

With Woodgate's track-record of injuries it was a bit of a gamble for Tottenham to sign him.

No disrespect to Spurs, but had he not been so injury-prone then he would have been snapped up by one of the 'big four'.

But he showed at Wembley that he can be one of the best around and he is proving to be another inspired signing by Ramos.

Tottenham have gone from having a mediocre defence to one that is really good.

They have great options, with Michael Dawson and Gareth Bale waiting in the wings, but we saw at Wembley that King is the key man.


The way King performed on Sunday, having not played for a while and with question marks over his long-term future due to his knee injury, was amazing.

He was the best player on the pitch and showed just what Tottenham have been missing.

If Spurs can keep King, Woodgate and to a certain extent Hutton fit, then they are really in business.

Ledley is the lynchpin of the side though, and when he plays they look a better team. He gives them confidence and inspires them to be tight defensively.

When you have players in your side that you know aren't going to let you down, who are going to win every tackle and block every shot, then that gives everyone else in the team a lift - confidence spreads as a result.

It is like playing with a striker who you know is going to get you a goal, he is that important.

Fabio Capello was at Wembley on Sunday and he would have noted the performance of King and Woodgate, who played brilliantly together in the centre of defence.

Fabio Capello
Fabio Capello was watching on Sunday and he would have been impressed by King and Woodgate

Are they good enough to play for England? Well that is the $64,000 question.

If they are both fit then there is no doubt that they are good enough to be in the squad.

Certainly if you get Ledley fully fit, then he plays. They will both be in Capello's thinking now.

Woodgate turned down Newcastle to join Tottenham in the January transfer window and the Magpies could definitely do with someone like him now.

Newcastle lost 5-1 to Manchester United on Saturday and it could have been more.

It was another awful defensive performance and what they desperately need is a dominant central defender like Woodgate.

It can't be easy playing in a defence that is always conceding so many goals. Steven Taylor is a good young player but he is short of confidence and that is spreading throughout the team.

Kevin Keegan says that his side are now in a relegation battle. If they don't get some points soon they'll get dragged into it and no-one wants that.

Will Newcastle go down? I can't see it happening.

Alan Hansen was talking to Nabil Hassan

see also
Ramos sets sights on more success
25 Feb 08 |  Tottenham
Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea
24 Feb 08 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
24 Feb 08 |  Football
Newcastle 1-5 Man Utd
23 Feb 08 |  Premier League
King eyes future England return
27 Dec 07 |  Tottenham
Spurs win chase to sign Woodgate
28 Jan 08 |  Tottenham
Spurs complete signing of Hutton
30 Jan 08 |  Tottenham
King makes return for Tottenham
04 Dec 07 |  Tottenham

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