Dundee United midfielder Calum Butcher, who came through the Tottenham Hotspur academy has admitted that Jermain Defoe took time out to give him some important advice when he was coming through the ranks at the North London club.
Butcher joined the Spurs academy in 2007 and failed to make a single appearance for the Tottenham first-team before eventually leaving the club to join Danish side Hjorring in 2011.
The 29-year-old has since gone on to forge a solid career in the professional game, with spells at Burton Albion, Milwall and Mansfield Town.
Now into his second spell at Tannadice, Butcher is one of the most senior figures in Micky Mellon’s side, who fell to a 4-1 defeat to Defoe’s Rangers on Sunday.
Defoe was a key member of the Spurs first-team during Butcher’s time at Tottenham and the player admitted that the England international had a big influence on his career.
Speaking ahead of the clash on Sunday, the former Spurs academy midfielder told The Glasgow Times: “When I started training with the first team, Jermain was there. He has had an incredible career, but I always remember how good he was with the young guys.
“He would always take time out to put an arm around the young lads and tell them to express themselves as much as they could.
“It can be difficult when you step out to train or play with the first team. But he was always one of the good ones who would try to help you.”
“When you go out to train with a team like Tottenham you have that nervousness. But it makes a big difference when you have guys like that trying to help you out.
“I’m now the same at United. Whenever any young lads come into the team I try to help them. They are trying to find their way and you want to help them in any way possible.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is remarkable that Defoe is still continuing to bang in the goals at 38 years of age, even though the standard of Scottish football is admittedly not great. Tottenham should look to bring him back to the club in a coaching capacity once he calls time on his playing career. It would be invaluable for the young strikers like Parrott and Scarlett to learn of someone like Defoe.
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