Tottenham Hotspur academy defender Japhet Tanganga was awarded his full debut under Mauricio Pochettino in 2019 against Colchester United in the Carabao Cup.
However, it wasn’t until yesterday that the 20-year-old made his first appearance in the Premier League after a string of matches on the bench.
Tanganga started in a back three alongside Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez, with Serge Aurier and Danny Rose as wing-backs.
However, this meant that the Englishman was tasked with marking Sadio Mane, one of the best forwards in world football right now.
Despite this, the young Spurs defender barely gave Mane an inch all game, and even covered at left-back in the final 20 minutes to allow Spurs to switch to a more attacking formation.
Jose Mourinho was full of praise for his debutant after the match, while also giving credit to the coaches who have worked with him for years at Spurs. He added that Tanganga was proof that youngsters can earn chances.
He said (Football London): “He played well. I think the kid has reason to be very happy with his level, not with the result obviously, but with his first game in the Premier League. It couldn’t be a bigger one and he did it amazingly.
“First on the right and then on the left, first Mane and then Salah, and I think he was fantastic so I don’t want to take any credit for that. I worked with him only for a couple of months. I think academy, coaches who worked with him for so many years.”
“I think it’s a good moment for him and I think it’s also a message for the kids in the academy that when the player is the right player with the right attitude and right qualities, the opportunity arises.”
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