Japhet Tanganga has admitted that he has previously not had much experience of operating at left back before Jose Mourinho decided to play him in the position.
Tanganga has started as a left back in all of Tottenham’s last three games and has coped impressively against some high profile players Riyad Mahrez.
The 20-year-old has displayed maturity beyond his years no matter which position he has been asked to play. Mourinho has been willing to trust him in big games matches including his Premier League debut against Liverpool, and the young defender has more than repaid the manager’s faith in him.
Tanganga admitted that going up against this quality of opposition has been quite challenging and that it is a learning process for him.
Speaking to the club’s official website, the defender said: “It’s been great, being able to play at this high level, but it’s also been very testing physically and mentally.
“I hadn’t played left-back much before but honestly, these last few games that I’ve played have really helped my development, just understanding everything positioning-wise.
“I’m there to work, to do what the manager needs me to do and, to be honest, I’ll play anywhere. I’m happy to do the work for the team.
“This month has been a learning curve, but it’s been really good. You experience just how hard the players work and how hard you have to work – there’s not a moment in the game where you can switch off.
“That’s a difference from where I’ve gone from Under-23s football to first-team football – I’m always focused, always concentrating because any slip-up and with the level of the players I’m playing against, they can get in at any time. It’s been very hard but very enjoyable as well.”
The Spurs academy product also admitted he is hungry to continue his development and is not fazed by playing at such a high standard of football.
Tanganga added: “At times it’s been (first-team football) different to what I expected because I thought maybe if I was playing on this stage I would have got nervous but I feel like I’ve been really calm,”
“I haven’t been fazed by the opponents or the circumstances, I feel like I know what my game is, I know why the manager has put me in, he’s shown trust in me and he knows what I’m capable of doing so it’s just about sticking to my game. I feel like all the work I’ve been doing, it’s all for this moment right now and it’s just been great.”
“When called upon by the manager – whether it’s to start, whether it’s to be on the bench and come on or whether it’s not to be in the squad, I’ve just always got to be ready.”
Spurs Web Opinion
His athletic prowess as well as his composure makes Tanganga quite a unique prospect but let’s see if he can maintain this level. He will inevitably make some mistakes down the line and that will be part of his learning process. From this interview and others, he certainly comes across as quite level headed and industrious.
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