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Les's life at the sharp end

Posted on 2 November 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).

The striking positions are supposed to be the glory end of the market, but for Les Ferdinand the only glory about it is scoring goals.

Les's current role involves leading the line on his own, taking his punishment from uncompromising defenders, and bringing the likes of Teddy into play from a deeper position.

Him doing this successfully is vital to the shape and success of the team, it may not make him stand out in the way Teddy has - but without Les collecting his bruises the current system would falter.

"The only bit of glory is when you score a goal," said Les. "That's the only glory part really.

"There is much more to it than scoring goals. What I have to do is lead the line, hold things up and bring people into the game, allowing Teddy the space that him and Gus need to drop off and cause problems."

Doing this does not come without a certain amount of pain, followed by treatment.

"I got four stiches put in the other week and somebody said they couldn't believe it took this long to get some stitches," laughed Les as he relected on his striking lot.

"It's a position I chose to play when I was young and you've got to take what comes with it. I'm not complaining at the moment."

The current team set-up is not totally unfamiliar to Les, whose game has certainly evolved since leaving QPR for the North East to join Kevin Keegan's revolution on Tyneside.

"When I was at Newcastle, that's when my game really changed. Before I was always one for running beyond defenders, trying to get the ball over the top and stuff like that.

"When I went to Newcastle we played a totally different system. I was the lone striker with Peter Beardsley sitting behind me and the rest of the midfield players pushing on.

"I only used to have to take one or two touches on the ball because there was so much support up to the striker.

"The midfield is very similar in this team right now. Two out and out wingers was the only difference, you knew the ball was going to come into the box with quality."

Les reasons that to play in a particular style you cannot afford any square pegs in round holes.

"To play a certain system everybody has to be comfortable playing in a certain position. I'm comfortable playing my role and, and at this moment in time, that role is working for this team.

"That's the main thing. If everybody is comfortable and enjoying playing in their positions, the team is going to function."

And what makes a selfless Ferdinand performance all worthwhile?

"Nicking a goal certainly does. All the bangs, bumps and bruises are all worthwhile and the end of the week if you can get a couple."

Odds of 8/1 on Les scoring first and that rises to 100/1 if Spurs win 2-0 - click for details.

By Richard Hubbard