Dawson must show Villas-Boas his Tottenham commitment, says Freund

Despite not featuring under the new boss as yet, the assistant manager hopes to see the club captain prove his worth - along with midfielder Tom Huddlestone

Tottenham assistant manager Steffan Freund is hoping to see a positive reaction from Michael Dawson with the defender expected to make his first appearance under Andre Villas-Boas in the League Cup third-round clash with Carlisle United on Wednesday night.

The former Nottingham Forest centre-back was handed the captaincy by the Portuguese on his appointment, but almost left White Hart Lane in the summer before a move to QPR broke down.

Dawson rejected the move, but has now found himself down the pecking order behind William Gallas, Younes Kaboul, Steven Caulker and summer signing Jan Vertonghen - and Freund is backing the England international to prove his worth to the new manager.

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"He realises that he is not playing at the moment but things can change in football," Freund is quoted as saying by The Independent.

"The most important thing is how he reacts and he likes to play for Tottenham.

"When you are a strong club like Tottenham there is a lot of opportunities. Andre said that from the beginning of the season.

"It is difficult for him because he is the captain of the club and he had an offer from QPR.

"We are always positive from that point and we talked about it openly. The players who are playing at Carlisle have to play well because we have a strong squad."

Another player who was on the verge of leaving White Hart Lane this summer, Tom Huddlestone, is also expected to get his first start this season against Carlisle.

The former Derby County midfielder, who almost joined Stoke City on loan, still has a future at the club according to Freund.

"Of course he has a future here," the German said.

"When you have a long-term injury - and I can say that, I had two cruciate ligament surgeries - it takes longer to come back.

"Tom was injured for a long time, [so was] Michael Dawson.

"He is training well every day. He has had a long-term injury, [but] he is looking really strong."