Former Tottenham star on Spurs’ Champions League hopes
FORMER Tottenham midfielder Darren Anderton believes that Spurs’ comeback in Bern proves that they have the character to extend their stay in the Champions League and reach the last 16.
Anderton believes that the key to Spurs’ Champions League hopes will be mental toughness, and the ex-England man has highlighted the importance of the turnaround in Switzerland, when Spurs battled back from 3-0 down after 30 minutes to salvage a 3-2 defeat against Young Boys.
“I didn’t think it was a bad draw. We were always going to get one of the big boys and, out of all the top seeds, Inter Milan would have been one of the ones I would have wanted them to get,” said Anderton.
“At White Hart Lane they will be capable of beating anyone. Tottenham have players that can score goals, and the character in the side is obviously there.
“They showed that especially after going 3-0 down in the qualifier against Young Boys. It was an incredible way to react – at three down it looked liked they could have been beaten by five or six. Spurs came back and got a good result in the end.”
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It was no coincidence that Tom Huddlestone came off the bench in the 36th minute in Bern, and Anderton believes that the 23-year-old will continue to be a key man in Spurs’ European odyssey.
“I think it will be a big season for Tom Huddlestone, I think he could be a top player. He is already a very good player,” Anderton went on.
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“I think with all the problems with England, if he performs as he can I can’t see any reason why he can’t force himself into the starting line up with England as well.
“He’s got all the attributes of a top midfielder, it looks like he is getting fitter and stronger all the time, and he’s a player that I really enjoy watching.”
This season Spurs will be battling on four fronts and, while the third round of the FA Cup is a long way off, the fixture calendar is already filling up with league meetings, Champions League ties and a certain derby clash.
Tottenham have been handed a home draw against Arsenal in the Carling Cup in two weeks time and, despite the growing fixture congestion, Anderton expects to see a strong Spurs side.
“I’m pretty sure they won’t take Arsenal any less seriously in a cup match at White Hart Lane,” he said. “It will be a good tie and it’s a game that I’m really looking forward to – it would be nice to see a repeat of the last time we played them at the Lane!
“As for the league it is possible Tottenham could overtake the Gunners, but at the same time you’re never too sure what you’re going to get from Arsenal.
“Spurs finished fourth last year and there is know reason why they can’t improve on that, although I think it will be very difficult.
“Manchester City are still spending millions and Liverpool will be very disappointed with how last year went for them, so I think it will possibly be more difficult to get that fourth spot this year.”
Anderton, who made 299 Spurs appearances in 12 years at White Hart Lane, was nicknamed ‘Sicknote’ due to his numerous injury problems, and he admits that he feels for both Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate as they continue to battle their own injuries.
“I know Ledley from my time at the club and when I see him out I speak to him. He is obviously pretty concerned about how it is with his injury, but I think he is realistic in terms of what he can and can’t do with his body,” he said.
“Jonathan Woodgate looks like he has come to a crossroads in his career. Both those players have quite severe injuries but are getting good treatment and hopefully will be able to come through them.”
* You can hear the full interview with Darren Anderton on the podcast via the link above.