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12 clearances: Tottenham star impressed last night and could captain his country this weekend

Nathaniel Kay March 25, 2021
Belgium v Wales - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Photo by Jasper Jacobs/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur defender Joe Rodon put in a mighty defensive shift for Wales last night.

Rodon started for Rob Page’s side as they lost their opening World Cup qualifying group game against Belgium.

Wales took the lead through a wonderfully crafted goal, finished by Liverpool’s eternal loanee Harry Wilson.

Belgium’s bright sparks hit back 12 minutes later through Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne and eventually sealed a 3-1 win.

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However, Wales made it far from easy for Roberto Martinez’s star-studded side, epitomised by Rodon’s resolute performance.

Rock-solid Rodon

The young Tottenham defender made 12 clearances on the night, according to WhoScored.com.

That was head and shoulders above anyone else in Leuven last night.

Discounting Rodon’s tally, players from Wales and Belgium managed only 11 clearances combined.

The 23-year-old Spurs star also blocked two shots and managed an 85.7% passing accuracy.

He was handed the often-impossible task of keeping Romelu Lukaku under lock and key, one he dealt with well.

Wales Online recognised Rodon’s efforts and awarded him eight out of ten in their post-match player ratings.

Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images

They even tipped him to take over the captain’s armband from Gareth Bale for Wales’ friendly with Mexico on Saturday (8pm).

From Swansea to Spurs

It was a display that will have Tottenham fans demanding much the same when Rodon returns to club action.

Settling into life at Spurs hasn’t been straightforward for the young centre-back.

Rodon left Swansea City to join Jose Mourinho’s men in October for £11m (BBC Sport). His arrival was one of seven signings the north Londoners made in that transfer window.

With so many new faces to blood into his team, Mourinho has yet to establish a regular role for Rodon. The Welshman has only made 15 appearances for Tottenham this season, eight of them in the Premier League.

However, if Rodon can continue his fine form for Wales, it will become harder for Mourinho not to include him more frequently.  

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.