How do you assess Tottenham’s season so far?
Well the season has only just started but I think with so many new first team players coming in I would say the season so far is going well. It’s always hard to get new players to gel straight away in a team but I think the players are already on a good wavelength with each other. Erikson in his first game against Norwich was one of the star performers and I think with the amount of creativity in the team now and the more solid defensive recruits we have made we could be very hard to beat this year.
How did you rate AVB’s summer signings especially given that you broke your transfer record a number of times?
I think the signings were very astute. I’m not honestly sure how much influence AVB had as opposed to Frank Baldini, our new director of football, but we have purchased a lot of good quality to take us to that next level. It has also really galvanised our squad and players like Walker, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Defoe and Dembele really do need to step up if they want to remain part of the team.
How do you think they’ve settled in?
I think bearing in mind the amount of players coming in, they have settled in well. Roberto Soldado has worked hard and already scored four goals. Erikson was amazing on his debut and has shown that we are in for a creative treat at the Lane this year. Paulinho and Capuoe have already shown their defensive qualities and I’m sure in time Lamela and Chadli will develop well. I foresee exciting times for Spurs in the next few years.
We can’t talk about summer signings without mentioning Gareth Bale. What do you think of the transfer fee and his behaviour prior to his departure?
I thought for a lot of the summer Gareth Bale’s behaviour was extremely noble, he never spoke to the press and for a long time I thought he was going to give the fans another year. But with the Madrid hierarchy constantly talking about him daily his head was turned. It is extremely disappointing he was not willing to train with us as we are the team that really brought him through as a player. I’m not quite sure he is worth the £85m or so Madrid paid for him, but the money certainly helped us to get in good solid players in numbers. We now have more quality in numbers other than a single superstar player and I think we are more solid all over the pitch other than the Gareth Bale’s position.
There were rumours of Jermain Defoe leaving for QPR in the summer. Do you expect him to still be in the first team this season?
I have always loved Defoe as a player. He is an out-andout predator 6 yards from goal but he is a little selfish. I think he is still part of the manager’s plans but will have to wait his chance. His goal against Man City towards the end of last year was awesome but bearing in mind that was his first goal since January, he needs to step it up if he wants to remain a Spurs player.
John Bostock left for Royal Antwerp in the summer on a free transfer. What do you think happened to the youngster who was mentioned as a future England international at one stage?
I think when a player that is so young joins a big club for a big fee there is so much pressure on them to perform. I think the pressure and expectancy of the fans got to him and he was not willing to put in the hours on the training pitch to really develop as a player. His first team opportunities were somewhat limited. Cherno Samba is another example of a young player where so much was expected of him at such a young age that was not able to fulfil his potential.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto left the club on transfer deadline day for QPR. How surprised were you to see that transfer go through?
I was very disappointed with the departure of AssouEkotto, He was one of my favourite Spurs left backs of recent years. A few years ago there was a good argument for him being the best in the league. You do not lose quality overnight and I think he performed very well for us over the last few seasons. I still remember the goal he scored against Liverpool on the first day of the season when we made the Champions League. I will sorely miss him and I do hope he performs admirably at QPR and comes back into the Spurs fold next year.
What’s your opinion of Sam Allardyce and West Ham?
I think Sam has done well since his appointment. Although you don’t play the sexiest of football, he has built a solid team through the years at West Ham. I am somewhat disappointed in your lack of quality signings this summer and I think the jury is still out with Andy Carroll. He scored only seven goals for you last year and yet Sam was willing to pay £15 million for him. You have also brought in the Romanian captain this year yet Sam has said he is not going to be first choice left back yet. I think most Premier League teams have recruited well this summer and spent a lot, but I feel West Ham’s summer spending have not really excited the fans enough and I see you finishing a few places lower than last year.
Which West Ham players would you have in the Tottenham squad?
I think Nolan is a very solid midfielder that does create and score a lot of goals. Matt Jarvis also has an excellent cross of the ball that Soldado would lap up and Mark Noble also plays with his heart.
What’s your prediction for both clubs this season?
I think Spurs will finish 3rd or 4th this year and West ham I think 13th or 14th.