Jack Wilshere has admitted that former Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele was the hardest player he has come up against in his career so far.
Dembele spent six and a half years at Spurs after arriving at Fulham in the summer of 2012.
In that time, the Belgian established himself as one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League and was an important part of Mauricio Pochettino’s revolution at Spurs, with the North Londoners going from top four hopefuls to Champions League regulars.
While Dembele arrived at the club as a versatile attacker, he was moulded into a deep-lying midfielder and forged formidable partnerships with the likes of Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama.
Wilshere, who had more than his fair share of battles with Dembele during the North London derbies he was part of, has now admitted that he found the former Spurs man to be a more difficult opponent than Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Andreas Iniesta.
“I played against Messi and Iniesta but I used to play against Dembele a lot and I hated it.
“You couldn’t get the ball off him, he was strong, quick, powerful and also really good on the ball.
“His dribbling was a joke and he was difficult to play against.”
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I always feel that players’ own teammates, who play with and against someone on a regular basis are the best judges of a players’ quality. It is a measure of how good Dembele was that many of Tottenham’s stars including Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, Danny Rose, Harry Winks and Erik Lamela, have previously named him as the most talented player in the squad.
In fact, I believe that the start of Tottenham’s decline under Pochettino was when Dembele left in January of 2019. Our run to the Champions League final papered over the cracks that season but we were never able to get consistent results in the league since the Belgian midfielder departed.
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