Darren Anderton made more than 350 appearances during 12 years at Tottenham, also helping them win the League Cup in 1999.
bwin caught up with the 46-year-old to discuss the future of manager Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs’ summer transfer options and the likelihood of keeping hold of striker Harry Kane.
Pochettino has been linked with Real Madrid. Do you see this happening in the future?
It will be very tough for Pochettino to turn down Real Madrid, but I don’t think he will make the move this summer. Pochettino is all about the long-term and he is building something special at Tottenham, especially with the new stadium coming and youngsters getting a lot of game time. Pochettino has been the biggest reason for Tottenham’s success and it was huge for the club to sign him to a new contract.
Pochettino might be tempted if Tottenham don’t keep hold of their best players this summer. The last thing we need is Real Madrid and Barcelona sniffing around our players if they have a good World Cup. Why would Pochettino stay trying to build something if he loses his best players. As long as Tottenham continue to improve, I think Pochettino will stay at the club until the club reaches its full potential.
Is Pochettino the right fit for Real Madrid?
I’m not convinced that Pochettino is the perfect fit for Real Madrid. Real Madrid have a short-term, win at all costs attitude, while Pochettino is all about long-term progression and is yet to win a major trophy. Real Madrid like to spend a lot of money on ready-made stars, but Pochettino is all about improving the players he already has and developing young players over a period of time. That’s the way Pochettino wants to run a football club, but I don’t think that would stop him from joining Real Madrid.
Can you see Alderweireld leaving the club this summer?
I think [Toby] Alderweireld will leave Tottenham this summer. Until his injury he was the best defender in the Premier League so his situation is definitely a problem for the club. He’s an unbelievable player and he has formed a fantastic partnership with [Jan] Vertonghen. Alderweireld will move on this summer because he wants to be paid what the best defenders earn and Tottenham won’t do that. Manchester United can afford to pay him far more money and he will massively boost their chances of winning the Premier League.
There are reports that Tottenham might need to play part of next season at Wembley. Would this damage their title chances?
It would be a big hindrance if Tottenham have to play at Wembley again next season. It could see them out of the title race before it has even begun because it means playing every game away from home. The opposition see Wembley as the highlight of their year so they up their game as though it’s a cup final. I hope Tottenham will be at their new stadium for the new season.
Where would you like to see Tottenham strengthen if they’re to compete for the title?
The problem Tottenham have is it is very difficult to improve their starting XI and world class players don’t join without guarantees they will play every week. The club need to sign a world class striker to support Harry Kane but it’s unlikely someone will want to come play second fiddle. Tottenham need to stop bringing in squad players for the sake of it and start bringing in players who improve the starting XI, even if that means spending big money.
The most important thing for Tottenham this summer is to keep their best players. The likes of [Dele] Alli, [Christian] Eriksen and [Harry] Kane need to be in a Tottenham shirt next season. We need to keep them if there’s any chance of winning trophies in the near future.
Tottenham are looking to sign de Ligt from Ajax as a potential replacement for Alderweireld. Would this be good business?
I think [Matthijs] de Ligt would be a fantastic signing for Tottenham and he fits the Pochettino mould. He’s a young player who he can improve for the future, similar to [Davinson] Sanchez last summer. He will need time to settle in and we might need to ignore the occasional mistake, but he has a big future in the game. I would like to see Tottenham sign a defender who is already proven world class to replace Alderweireld, though.
Do Tottenham risk losing Kane and Pochettino if they don’t win a trophy next season?
Tottenham need to start winning trophies if they’re to keep the likes of Harry Kane and Pochettino at the club. The club has the potential but keeps falling short, and if that potential starts to waver than the big names will start to look elsewhere.
If Tottenham were to sell a big-name player, such as an Eriksen, then the club could implode pretty quickly in a domino effect. If Eriksen leaves and the squad is no longer strong enough to compete for trophies, why wouldn’t Harry Kane or Dele Alli leave as well? They need to see that ambition from the very top.
Wilfried Zaha is being linked with a move to Tottenham. Would he be a good signing for the club?
I think Zaha is a really good player and he had a great season at Crystal Palace. I think he would be a really good addition to the Tottenham squad and he would be a very welcome signing. I’m not sure who he would replace in the starting XI though. [Heung-min] Son would probably be the most vulnerable, but that would be harsh on him because he played so well last season and really stepped up while Harry Kane was injured.
Do you think Eriksen will go to Barcelona if they come calling?
I think Eriksen is very happy at Tottenham, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Barcelona wanted to sign him this summer, especially if he has a good World Cup. He is a fantastic player, he scores goals and he makes goals.
Do you think Tottenham need to start paying the wages to keep players at the club?
Tottenham’s refusal or inability to pay the wages that the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea pay costs them a chance of winning the Premier League. The reality is that the big money attracts the best players and the best players win the trophies. Tottenham want to try win things differently and it’s commendable, though may prove unrealistic.
England’s Tottenham spine
Tottenham have more players in the England squad than any other team. What do you think to this?
I think it’s a huge advantage that England have quite a few players who have all played together at Tottenham. The likes of Kane, [Eric] Dier, [Keiran] Trippier, Alli, [Danny] Rose and [Kyle] Walker have played together week in and week out over the course of their club careers and that can only be a good thing. Alli and Kane have a great partnership for Tottenham and England can reap the rewards of that. It helped me a lot playing with [Teddy] Sheringham, picking him out because I knew the runs he would make and what was running through each other’s minds. It’s the same for those two. Tottenham can form the spine of the team, no problem.
Is Harry Kane the right choice for the captaincy?
Harry Kane will play every single game, he leads from the front and he leads by example so that’s everything you want from a captain. I’ve always preferred a central defender to be a captain because he can see the full pitch and play as it develops in front of him, so I think Gary Cahill might have been the more obvious choice for the captaincy if he was a few years younger.
Do you think Harry Winks might have forced his way into the team had he not been injured?
I think Harry Winks might well have been in this World Cup squad if he hadn’t picked up an injury. He was playing very well, doing everything right and I love him as a player. It’s a shame he has become the forgotten man because of his injury.
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