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Jacko accepts challenge

Posted on 2 May 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).

Young midfield thruster Johnnie Jackson is unfazed by the prospect of Glenn Hoddle beefing up his midfield options during the summer months.

The 18-year-old has seen the likes of Ledley King and Simon Davies introduced to the first team this season on a regular basis and, given his progress, Johnnie could be forgiven for suspecting he is not too far behind in the pecking order.

But the England under-18 international fully expects Glenn to re-stock this summer and has seen the reports linking midfielders of the calibre of Barcelona due Pepe Guardiola and Emmanuel Petit.

Jacko, set to turn out for the reserves against Arsenal at the Lane on Wednesday evening, prefers to dwell on the positive.

"It’s hard, but they are world class players, and I would like to be watching Petit and Guardiola train here every day," reasons Johnnie. "It can only help you as a player. It will obviously make your job harder getting in the team, but it can help you as well.

"After getting a look-in, you’ve got to think ahead to next season as well. Obviously the boss is going to look to sign more players in the summer so it’s going to be even harder to get in next year.

"I got in for the first time for the Arsenal game at Highbury. It was a big moment for me and I would like to have got on the bench, but it didn’t happen. Hopefully, if I keep pushing, maybe that chance will come.

"You don’t know how you’re going to improve as a player, but hopefully you make the steps up."

Johnnie forms a combative and, at the same time, cultured central midfield axis with John Piercy for a reserve side that has taken on a new dimension due to first team injuries and the departure of manager Chris Hughton to the seniors.

"We’ve been doing well recently, since Theo took charge I think it’s been about three victories and a draw. We’re still unbeaten under Theo and going well at the moment.

"I don’t know what the correlation there is," laughed Johnnie. "A little bit of luck."

The Camden-born youngster does feel, however, that playing with his contemporaries is a factor which has contributed to recent results.

"I think it does help, we’ve been playing together for years. Obviously in the youth team we’ve been together and, the younger the player, generally they will be more enthusiastic at reserve level, I’d say. It’s been going well."

On the subject of a second-string double-header against the Neighbours, does Johnnie feel the opposition will stir the juices of the team any more than normal?

"I don’t know, it’s a big game and management always want to win those games, but you’re always up for every game, you can’t say one more so than the other."

By Richard Hubbard