Danny Rose has launched a staunch defence of his fitness record, stating it is “nonsense” to suggest he is injury-prone as he waits to discover whether he will be included in England’s 23-man World Cup squad.
Rose suffered a knee ligament injury in January 2017 that sidelined him for nine months, before then spending six weeks in the treatment room between December 2017 and February 2018 after feeling discomfort in the same area. The left-back missed another month from April to May due to a calf problem and has made just seven starts for Spurs this calendar year, plus one for England.
Those issues could be concerns for Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate, who will name his 23-man World Cup squad on Wednesday, and for any clubs who are considering making a move for Rose this summer. But the 27-year-old said was adamant that it is not an issue.
“Everyone seems to have this perception that I’m injury-prone or I’ve had a lot of injuries, and that’s not the case at all,” said Rose. “I got injured last season and tried everything for three months to avoid an operation. I had 50 tablets, probably 20 injections, but it didn’t work and I needed an operation.
“I came back in October and was fit until December but I got injured in a tackle. I was out for a month and then I had a muscle injury in March: my first muscle injury in two years. So I’ve had two injuries this season and people seem to think I’ve had a lot of injuries. It’s a load of nonsense.
“I’ve had to bide my time getting some minutes. It’s been a season where I’ve had to be patient and mentally positive. Even though I haven’t played as much as I’d like, I feel like I’ve grown mentally so there are positives to take out of the season.
“I wish I could have played more, but you have two players to compete in each position and that’s how I would want it at any football club.”
Rose finished the season in strong form, setting up Harry Kane’s winning goal during Sunday’s 5-4 victory over Leicester, and he will now hope to be Southgate’s first-choice left-back at the World Cup — as he was at Euro 2016.
“I’d like to think we’re all better off from what happened in 2016,” said Rose. “If I’m selected then I’ll know what to expect now, and surely that can only help us and help the whole squad.
“Definitely what happened in the Euros will stand us in better stead, and hopefully we can go through the group stage and see where it takes us.”
It remains to be seen whether Rose will return to Tottenham after the tournament or whether he joins another club this summer. His future has been uncertain ever since the start of the season, when he said in an explosive newspaper interview that he wanted to be paid what he is worth and that he hoped to play for a northern club before he retires.
“[The interview] happened 10 months ago,” said Rose. “I regret nothing, I didn’t tell any lies. But there’s no point talking about it. I like to think everyone has moved on. I’m here and I’m looking forward to coming back to preseason, and hopefully me and Ben [Davies] can start fresh and fight for the No. 1 position. I fancy myself against anybody in the league.”
Rose also stressed his desire to win trophies in August’s outspoken interview, while questioning Tottenham’s transfer strategy — comments that cost him two weeks’ wages.
Pochettino touched on similar issues in his final press conference of the campaign, calling on the club to be “brave and take risks” in order to challenge for top honours.
Asked for his thoughts on the manager’s comments, Rose said: “I’ve learned my lesson speaking about that sort of stuff. But it’s good that the manager has come out and said that. I hope the manager, his coaching staff, the recruitment staff and the chairman can all come together and give the manager what he wants.
“I’m fully behind whatever happens in the offseason. I hope we get some good recruits to help us push on. As the manager said, the next step now is to hopefully win something next year.
“Finishing third is another great achievement. The manager gave a speech after the Newcastle game [last Wednesday] and said we need to realise what an achievement we’ve done this season, playing 38 games away from home. We should be proud of what we’ve done this season, and in the past three years as well.”
Rose continued: “I saw a question the other day: ‘have Spurs overachieved?’ That’s something I’ve thought about a lot of times. Are we doing well because other teams haven’t done so well? I think you could ask that after one season but when we’ve done it three years on the bounce, getting to the Champions League, we deserve exactly what we’ve got.
“Nobody’s seen how hard we’ve worked. To play 38 games away from home is an amazing achievement, and I hope now we can push on and nick something next year.”