Former Tottenham striker, Darren Bent and talkSPORT host, Alex Crooks have both admitted that they underestimated what Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could offer the North London side when the midfielder arrived during the summer.
Hojbjerg was the first player to come through the doors at Spurs in the transfer window but he was by no means the most high-profile of the seven signings that the club made.
At the time, several pundits, including ESPN FC’s Don Hutchison and former Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp, questioned whether the Dane was the sort of player to take Jose Mourinho’s side to the next level.
However, eleven games into the season, the midfielder has proven to be one of the most valuable singings of the summer and has already become one of Spurs’ most important players.
Following his display against Arsenal, Crooks admitted that he owed Hojbjerg an apology.
He said (via talkSPORT): “He was man of the match on TV, Jose mentioned Hojbjerg as his man of the match as well – and I owe him a bit of an apology.
“We were all a bit dubious about the signing, I watched him at Southampton and he had more bad games than good.
“Possibly, he’s one of those players who can only truly shine when he’s got world-class player like Son and Kane around him. We were all a bit sceptical.”
Bent then seconded Crooks’ opinion, admitting that he too questioned the signing at the time.
The former Tottenham striker said: “I was one who questioned it. I thought, ‘If they want to go to the next level, why are they not signing better players?’
“He’s like that anchor you need in midfield, where everyone can be going chaotic around you, he’s the one who sits in front of that back four and does his job.”
Crooks and Bent then went on to compare the job Hojbjerg does for Spurs to one the likes of Claude Makelele and Michael Essien did for Mourinho during his time at Chelsea.
Crooks said: “It’s the Mourinho way – at Man United he had Nemanja Matic to do that job, at Chelsea he had Michael Essien.”
Bent responded: “He had Claude Makelele as well. I think the biggest one who was underrated in that role was John Obi Mikel, he did that job so well.
“But you’re right, it’s the Mourinho way.”
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