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Doherty takes the plaudits

Posted on 4 January 2001  - 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).

George Graham has paid tribute to Gary Doherty following the 20-year-old’s first home start of the season in Tuesday night’s dramatic victory over Newcastle.

Doherty, 21 at the end of the month, played as part of a three-man central defensive unit with a licence to push forward. He scored the equaliser with a powerful header, won a further penalty when Nolberto Solano handled his goal-bound header on the line and supplied the crucial pass for Sergei Rebrov’s exquisitely taken strike.

"I thought Doherty was outstanding, it was a lovely run (for Rebrov’s goal), he shaped up to shoot and everybody went for the shot and it was a beautiful little reverse ball into Rebrov who took it first-time on the outside of his foot," purred George.

"Real, real quality both from the youngster and Rebrov."

Doherty made his first start of the season, in difficult circumstances, at Portman Road on Saturday in a forward position alongside Willem Korsten. Our Irish under-21 international recruit from Luton was one of few to come out of the defeat to Ipswich with any credit. George would not commit himself as to which position he sees Doherty filling in the long-term.

"He’s played in both positions for the reserve team. He played quite well on Saturday actually. I like the way he comes out with the ball, so confident on it and he’s not afraid to go and go all the way — like he proved for that goal. He’s very good in the air, and he almost got another goal.

"It was a toss-up possibly between him and Ledley King as to who was our best player, I thought Ledley was excellent again."

George went on to reveal the key to unlocking Rebrov’s undoubted talents, a bit of advice given to many a great striker over the years — be selfish.

The manager commented: "He was nice and bright. He had a few more shots and I told him to be a bit more selfish, to get into more goalscoring positions. It’s lovely to see the quality of the goal, outside of his right foot."

Another to receive praise from the headmaster was Stephen Clemence, who made a major contribution to the game with his constant foraging down the left flank, seemingly freed of the defensive shackles.

"On Saturday he played as a left-back and looked a bit uncomfortable, but he played well against Newcastle. He’s done quite well in that position considering it’s a strange position for him. He’s a very good, honest lad who does well for us.

Overall, George was delighted to have registered another home win in the first game of the New Year.

"For the fans it must be great seeing goals and goalmouth incident, must be great for the fans. It was an important win for us today.

"The home form has been good with the exception of the Birmingham match, even in some of the drawn games we’ve played quite well and had some exciting games. Whatever anyone says about Tottenham right now, at White Hart Lane there have been a lot of exciting games and I think that was among the best. Maybe not technically, but for excitement and incident it was up there with the best.