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Blondel - 1st Interview

Posted on 8 September 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

On catching first sight of summer signing Jonathan Blondel is would be easy to mistake him for one of the White Hart Lane ball boys.

But first impressions can be deceptive and there is more to the young Belgian than meets the eye. He may stand at only 171cm and carry a wiry frame, but the 18-year-old, has a feisty side to his game as well as silky ball skills.

Jonathan made his Premiership debut on Saturday, coming on as substitute against Southampton. It was he that set the move in motion that led to Michael Svensson giving away the penalty that Teddy Sheringham gloriously converted.

It was also noticeable how he was not pushed around by the 'big boys' and even had a couple of free-kicks somewhat harshly given against him.

Our recruit from Royal Excelsior Mouscron knows, however, that he must beef up a little bit to withstand the sustained rigours of the Premiership - and his living accommodation is helping him in that respect.

We caught up with Jonathan at Spurs Lodge and he tells us that, although over here on his own, he is settling in very nicely off the pitch.

"I'm finding it very nice, I know everybody over here now and everyone is being very kind to me. Everything is fine," he smiled.

"I live not so far from here and where I live there is a swimming pool and a gym, which I use after training. I live in a small apartment and it is not that far from Milo and when he wants to go shopping he gives me a call.

"There is lots to do, I am never bored.

"I conscious that I need to work a lot on the physical side of things, but I am only 18 years old and I still have to develop myself and that's the reason why I always train every day in the gym."

Jonathan got an early taste of the White Hart Lane atmosphere when he came on during second half of the pre-season friendly against Lazio.

"I played in the friendly match and I think I've got a lot of work to do. After all, I don't want to say I should play in every game, there is still a lot to do for me.

"But I've found myself being very confident, everybody is helping me over here - we'll see what happens."

Jonathan considers there to be something of a chasm between the English and Belgian leagues and insists he must adapt, in time, to ensure he is a success for Spurs.

"The thing is, there is a big difference between the English Premiership and the Belgian championship - there is more contact over here.

"I've always been interested by English football, this is not the first time I've seen it over here.

"It can be very strong and direct, maybe it will take the first season to get used to it and get settled. From next season I think it will be fine and we'll see how I get on."

The midfielder won his first international cap for his country in the recent friendly with Poland and is viewed as a great prospect in his homeland.

"It was a very great pleasure for me actually - and it was quite a surprise. There are not many players of my age who have made their debut in the national side.

"I think there is still a lot to come, but I am not in a hurry. It's like at Tottenham, at this stage there is still much to do and I want to see what happens. There are still the qualifying games for the Euro 2004 championship and I would love to play in those but, like I said, I am not in a hurry.

"It is a good opportunity for me because there are players like Wilmots who have retired from international football. It is an opportunity, but I want to do things well and prepare to be ready for possibly 2004 in Portugal.

"As I say, there are not so many players of my age ready to play for the national side, but I am lucky at the moment and I must get myself ready for it."

By Richard Hubbard