Player reveals he grew to love Spurs after joining club

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Japhet Tanganga has revealed that he supported Manchester United as a child before signing for the Spurs academy.

The young academy graduate has had a whirlwind last few months after being thrown into the starting line up against the Premier League champions elect Liverpool in January.

Since then, Tanganga has been a regular fixture in Jose Mourinho line up and has repaid the Spurs boss’ faith by putting in impressive displays in a number of positions across the backline.

When asked who he supported as a kid, the defender told talkSPORT: “I actually didn’t grow up supporting Tottenham when I was a little boy.

“I grew up with my dad watching Man United and I always used to see them on the TV when I was young.

“But once I signed and was around here every day, I just grew to love Tottenham. I loved watching them play, going to games and seeing them, so they became my favourite team. I wasn’t really a Tottenham fan before, but now I am.”

The 20-year-old revealed that although he had been left mesmerised with the stars that have graced the White Hart Lane pitch over the years, it was former Red Devils defender Nemanja Vidic that was his idol.

When asked who he looked up to when he was a kid, the centre half said: “Vidic. He was immense. He is someone I look up to, especially with the position I play. For me, Vidic was the one.

“Players like Ledley King and Michael Dawson (at Spurs). But not just defenders, players like Rafael van der Vaart as well. He was here and he was really good. Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, all those players, I looked up to them.”

The youngster first came to most people’s notice when he was part of Tottenham’s preseason tour of the United States and Asia last summer.

He admitted to being mesmerized while coming up against the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid.

Tanganga added: “Honestly, it was amazing. I remember the Juve game waiting in the tunnel for the Juventus players, they came out and I was just looking at Ronaldo in awe. ‘I can’t believe I’m standing next to Ronaldo!’

“Then there was Buffon, Bonucci, all these players, it was crazy. It was honestly really good. Obviously, in the tunnel you see them and you have these feelings, but once you cross that line you’ve got to focus.

“As much as it’s pre-season and it’s not a competition that important, I think it’s important for you as an individual to stamp your authority on the game and show your teammates, your manager and even sometimes the world, people are watching it, to show what you’re capable of doing.

“You’ve just got to treat them like any other player. Of course, they’ve been in the game for so long and they have qualities that are you’re not used to when you’re coming in for the first time, but you just have to treat them like any other player, concentrate and do what the manager asks you to do.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Not only does Tangaga seem to have all the tools in his arsenal to evolve into a top centre half but he also seems to be extremely level-headed and mature for his age. He seems like the sort of kid who will keep his feet on the ground and continue learning. Tanganga could potentially go on to be an immense player for us for many years to come.

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  1. Sadly Japhet’s performances aren’t quite living up to his earlier ones, but then he is being constantly switched around positionally which doesn’t exactly help him develop consistency.


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