Jermaine Jenas has admitted that Edgar Davids was not as good technically as he expected the Dutchman to be.
Davids was coming towards the end of his career when he joined Tottenham on a free transfer in the summer of 2005.
However, despite seemingly not possessing the legs he did earlier in his career, the midfielder was a key part of Spurs side during 2005/06, with the club only missing out on a top-four finish on the final day of the season.
Jenas had come up against Davids previously when Newcastle United took on Juventus in the Champions League, with the midfielder admitting that it was a real boost to his confidence to play as well as he did against Juve’s star-studded midfield.
The former Spurs man told FourFourTwo: “I was 19 years old and he was in that midfield with Nedved and they had a good team.
“Buffon was in goal, Trezeguet up top with Del Piero and I remember I got man of the match and Davids got brought off. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my god, that’s a feather in your cap, outplaying Davids in midfield.’ Edgar was a star.”
However, Jenas admitted that he was less than impressed with Davids’ technically ability when the Dutchman become his teammate at Tottenham.
He continued: “But when he came to Spurs, something really stood out for me.
“Technically, I didn’t think he was as good as I thought he would be. Like, you know those Nike adverts he used to be on where he’d do all those tricks and stuff?
“That wasn’t really what he was about, Edgar, that’s not what made him the player he was.”
Jenas also narrated a story about how Davids once pulled the entire Spurs squad aside after training to question their commitment, admitting that the former Netherlands international’s antics did not please his teammates.
Jenas recalled: “We finished training one day and I think we’d had a bit of an average training session.
“He went around saying, ‘We’ve got a meeting’ – he dragged people out of the gym and out of the physio saying and we all went in there thinking Martin Jol was gonna be in there.
“He was just stood there and he said: ‘What do you lot want? Because if you want this, you need to sort yourselves out.’ He was basically saying, ‘I’ve won it. At the end of my career, I’ll be alright, but you lot, you’ve not been there, and if you want it, you need to start doing this, this and this.’
“I remember specifically a load of people walking out – even probably myself – almost laughing at him, like bloody hell, calm down Edgar, relax will you?
“It wasn’t until later on in my career that I realised: that’s why he achieved what he did in the game. Because the mentality that he had to win games far surpassed anything he could do on a football pitch.”
Spurs Web Opinion
In fairness to Davids, he was not near the peak of his powers when he moved to Spurs and it was always going to be a challenge for him to adapt to the pace of English football at that stage of his career.
However, the midfielder still did quite well in his first season at the club and his leadership certainly helped Tottenham mount a challenge for a top-four that season, which the club was not expected to do in those days.
In fact, in many respects, the Martin Jol era was the start of Spurs’ evolution as a team into one that was expected to compete at the top end of the table regularly.
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