Former Spurs coach reveals what held back Adel Taarabt in his career

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Tim Sherwood

While there are some players who make the most of their ability and go on to have amazing careers despite having a fairly limited skill set, others often fail to reach anywhere near their potential despite being naturally gifted. 

There have been plenty of the latter kind at Tottenham over the years and perhaps one of the best examples is Adel Taarabt.

The midfielder was seen as a real coup for Spurs when the North Londoners snapped him up from Lens as a 17-year-old in 2007.

Despite showing his outrageous ability on the ball during several cameos off the bench for Tottenham, the Moroccan never managed to become a first-team regular at Spurs under Martin Jol, Juande Ramos or Harry Redknapp.

That has pretty much been the story of Taarabt’s career as he has never quite managed to put in consistent displays and live up to his potential.

Now 31, the midfielder appears to be settled at Benfica but he might well look back at his career and think ‘what if’.

Redknapp admitted last week that Taarabt had great talent but little desire to reach the top and legendry Spurs striker Les Ferdinand has now echoed the former Tottenham manager’s sentiments.

Ferdinand, who served as a coach at Spurs during Redknapp’s reign told Pianeta Milan: “The reasons why Adel never reached higher levels? The only thing that can hold back a talented player is the mentality.

“Without that, everything becomes more difficult. I coached Taarabt when I was coaching Tottenham forwards, and I can say he was incredibly talented.

“It was he alone who brought the QPR to the Premier League in 2011/2012, but you can have all the talent in the world; if you don’t have the right mentality, you won’t go anywhere.”

Spurs Web Opinion 

Fans often underestimate the mental strength and the self-belief needed to become a top player while overstating the usefulness of raw talent. All players who reach the top level are incredibly talented but very few have the mental fortitude to bounce back from setbacks. This is why we often see players who are immensely talented as teenagers disappearing from the radar before they have even reached 25. 

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