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Clem back on the ball

Posted on 27 February 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).

Stephen Clemence made an encouraging return for the reserves at Upton Park on Tuesday evening, impressing for an hour before taking a rest.

Making his comeback after a groin injury, Clem played the midfield anchor role to good effect as Colin Calderwood's reserve side enjoyed a good first half against the Hammers.

"I was pleased with it," said Clem afterwards. "I'm not match fit yet and I'm finding it hard to get as close as I'd like to in that sense, but I felt quite comfortable on the ball.

"Although I'm not there yet I was quite happy with my first game back.

"I've probably had eight or nine days training so far, but that has been broken up with having two days off for the final."

Clem certainly tested his injury, and launched into several heavy challenges in the first period. His recovery has been guided by an Italian doctor, who advised him making a return last week.

"I didn't feel the groin today and, touch wood, I don't feel it tomorrow either.

"Last time I saw the doctor was two weeks ago and he was sort of 'like that' over whether I should play in the Coventry game last week. But I'd only had a couple of days training and the manager wasn't too keen for me to play.

"It was fair enough, so I waiting for this game and got a bit more training under my belt and it's proved the right decision in the end.

"I got through 60 minutes in the end, I don't think I would have got through 30 last week. I could have played longer, but it's a case of getting the quality work rather than the quantity.

"I'd rather work for the 60 than slug through the 90 and not do the rest of the lads any good."

From his deep lying midfield role, Clem look impressive spraying passes around the pitch after receiving the ball from the defenders.

"Little bit, little bit, I tried but the sharpness wasn't there, but that will come in the next couple of games and I hope to be back in contention in three weeks to a month's time.

"I enjoy playing there. The manager had a chat with me at the start of the season about it, how he wants that position played. There are a few of us who can play it - Steff, Tim and myself - and I do enjoy it and like getting the ball off the defenders.

"Maybe I didn't get as much as I like tonight, but the more fit I get the more I'll get on the ball."