Danny Mills is a man who speaks his mind. And that is really not intended as a compliment. From the outside it seems that he literally speaks his mind – liberally emptying out its contents when he is asked a question. Hence his description of Sheffield United – “it’s not the most glamorous way of playing. They might play a little direct at times” – in August which neatly proved he had never seen Sheffield United play. So when he was asked about a potential switch for Danny Rose to Newcastle last week he said:
“He’s a northern lad originally but Newcastle’s a bit further north than most people want to go.”
While you’re still reeling from that pinch of pungent nonsense, Mills is back again, having presumably forgotten that Rose has previously played on loan at quite-north Sunderland:
“He’s been in London for a long time, it would be a bit of a culture change going up to Newcastle.”
It’s 2020, Danny. In Newcastle they now have the internet and inside toilets. Hell, they even have man buns and avocados. To the southern Danny Mills it is presumably still a wasteland of coalmines and pasty shops, but in reality Newcastle is a cosmopolitan city. They even speak English. Ish. Oh and it’s just 90 minutes on the train to Leeds. And it’s also an excellent move for Rose, Newcastle and Tottenham. It genuinely suits all parties.
Newcastle desperately need a left-back and Rose is at the very top end of the players they could realistically hope to attract. Yes, he may have lost some pace, but that will be less evident in a naturally defensive side. Tottenham simply need to lose a player who has become more of a distraction than an asset, more of a right gob than a left foot. And Rose? He just needs to be prove he is a) still an actual footballer and b) still wants to be an actual footballer ahead of Euro 2020. The latter is probably dependent on his happiness, and that no longer seems possible in north London.
The minute Rose dared to speak out in a wide-ranging Sun interview about valuing both money and trophies above the ‘project’ at Tottenham, he sprinted – slightly slower than prior to his injury – into an area marked ‘more trouble than he is worth’. Even two more years of service, including two top-four finishes and a run to the Champions League final, did little to endear him to Spurs fans, who were convinced that he was behind squad discontent under Mauricio Pochettino and also Jose Mourinho.
“In January, you are probably going to hear something. I’m telling you right now that I’m not going anywhere until my contract is finished,” said Rose in November, which looks silly in the light of his imminent loan to the frozen north until you remember that Pochettino was sacked less than a week after that interview. At that point, Rose lost his manager and his champion. Later in the same interview he said: “When the manager stops calling me into his office, stops giving me advice, that’s when I’ll think it’s time to leave Tottenham but, until then, I’m not going anywhere.” Pochettino left and with him went Rose’s chance of redemption at Spurs.
There are LOLs to be had about a player desperate for trophies joining one of the few big clubs with a less storied history of silverware than Spurs, but this is likely to be a temporary solution. A re-set. A guarantee that he will be picked for a third consecutive England tournament squad this summer. The competition is not fierce – only Luke Shaw has started an England game at left-back since the World Cup in a period dominated by Rose and Ben Chilwell – but Gareth Southgate would have struggled to justify his inclusion if he was entirely absent from the Premier League.
At Newcastle, he will be welcomed as a good if no longer great left-back, and his better performances will see him lauded and loved. Which will probably feel pretty nice to Rose, who has made the mistake of speaking his mind too often for a footballer. He really should wait until he is retired and getting paid purely for the nonsense.