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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

David Ginola: When I look at Tottenham Hotspur now I see a big club

The retired French footballer impressed with progress of his former side, praising work of Mauricio Pochettino and the efforts of Harry Kane

Mauricio Pochettino, left, is confident about Harry Kane's situation. Michael Regan / Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino, left, is confident about Harry Kane's situation. Michael Regan / Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur will face Arsenal in Saturday's North London derby on a high.

Third in the Premier League with five wins in their past six games, top of their Uefa Champions League group, having beaten reigning champions Real Madrid earlier this month at Wembley Stadium, they will head to the Emirates Stadium, home of their arch-rivals, confident of a first win there since November 2010.

Former Tottenham player David Ginola is impressed with the club's progress and believes they have the potential to go on and achieve even more.

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“When I look at Tottenham now I see a big club,” the Frenchman, who played for the club between July 1997 and July 2000.

“It’s growing step by step and there’s such a massive difference from when I played there. On the pitch, Tottenham scare teams now. Mauricio Pochettino is giving an example for others, the club under Daniel Levy too. I hope both stay for a long time.

“Tottenham beating Real Madrid brought them to the attention of the world in a different way. Everybody knew about Tottenham, but now they see Tottenham as a challenger.

"For the Premier League, even for the Champions League. That has only become the case just now, but this team excites me."

While Harry Kane has often taken the limelight at Tottenham for his goalscoring heroics, Ginola believes Pochettino's attention to his side's rearguard has just been as important.

Ginola added: “When Franz Beckenbauer managed at Marseille, he said: ‘The best teams have a solid defence. If you have a solid defence that doesn't concede, you will always get at least one point.’

"Pochettino, who was a defender himself, has done that with Tottenham. Hugo Lloris is a fantastic goalkeeper. Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Toby Alderweireld have made Tottenham’s defence solid."

Of the rest of the side, Ginola is equally impressed with what he has seen.

"Christian Eriksen has been a big asset for years. Dele Alli is the jewel in the crown of the academy with Harry Kane," he said.

"I’m very impressed by Kane, he’s scoring year in year out, he’s a player you can rely on. He doesn’t get injured. He’s on top of his game not only with his feet, but his mental approach too."

The only thing that has saddened Ginola is the loss of White Hart Lane as Tottenham build a new 61,500 capacity stadium to move into next summer.

“The new stadium, with 61,000 seats, will help and I understand why Spurs needed a bigger stadium," Ginola said. "But they will probably lose something along the way.

"White Hart Lane was beautiful, the atmosphere unique. It was home and unlike the new big stadiums which all seem to be made the same way. They have different architecture, but they all look similar, with concrete all around.

"I remember going into the old Highbury [Arsenal's old stadium], another one, like White Hart Lane, where the smell was of football and former glories. You remember the small details, the heating under the floor at Highbury. I’ve become nostalgic because I’m getting older and I think about the past as it was, but we live in our times.”

Ginola believes Tottenham have another factor in their favour – London.

“It’s easier to settle in a cosmopolitan city and I speak from experience after I moved to London from Newcastle,” he explains. “You can take a train to Paris in two hours, there are flights everywhere. When I wanted to go to Nice from Newcastle it mean two flights and an entire day travelling.”