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Meet Yan the Man

Posted on 14 August 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 Gallic influence at White Hart Lane did not begin and end with the sublime skills of David Ginola — there is another Frenchman seeking to forge a successful career in N17 who goes by the name of Yannick Kamanan.

The 19-year-old introduced himself to the Spurs masses with high-impact displays in the pre-season friendlies at Stevenage and Swindon in July, but the jet-heeled striker has been making waves at reserve team level for a little while now and will be hoping to add to his goals tally for the reserves at Dagenham and Redbridge tonight (Tues).

Chris Hughton drafted him into the second string last season after he top scored for the under-19 side in the previous campaign and he and Steven Ferguson made the striking spots their own with a string of impressive displays.

Yannick is a young player happy with his lot, always ready with a cheery smile and a few kind words. He is now entering his third season at the club following spells at Paris Saint Germain and Le Mans. A longing to play in England prompted Yannick to instruct his agent to look across the Channel for his next port of call.

"I used to play for PSG and Le Mans before I came to England," said Yannick as he recalled how a switch to Blighty came about. "I was training at both clubs, but it didn’t work out and I wanted to come to play in England.

"I was out-of-contract when I finished at Le Mans and my agent asked me where I wanted to play. I told him I wanted to play in England.

"I am in my third year now. In my first I played for the under-19s, in my second I was also a reserve team squad player and I am now a full professional player."

You would imagine that even with Yannick’s sunny disposition, a move overseas at a young age would be a tricky transition.

"No, it was not because I was ready for it. When you want to play football as a professional you must make sure you are ready to go anywhere. You must accept every chance you can get.

"I was not afraid of coming. I’ve got my game to concentrate on."

The Dunkirk-born Yannick does, however, have a small family support network to lean on in times of trouble, but he does admit to missing his home-based family.

"A little bit," he conceded. "But I’ve got my sister over here, my auntie, and I speak to my mum on the phone, so it’s cool.

"My mum can come over to England and I can return when we have a weekend off."

Yannick is a fan of English football’s possibly unique culture and is happy enough with his progression through the ranks. His goal at Swindon put him in the public eye, a spotlight he is seeking to occupy again in the future.

"It’s been really good. I didn’t expect so much. But the crowds, the football, the physical side, the stadium, pitches — everything is great here.

"My progress has been good. I scored goals for the under-19s and finished top goalscorer. Last year was quite a good year, and this year I hope to be in the reserve squad most of the time, maybe the odd time on the bench for the first team.

"But first of all there is a really big and good squad here this year, so I’ll have to be patient. Still, I hope to get some luck, like everybody, so I hope to get a chance like at Swindon and score goals.

So does having a positive outlook on life help in the cut, thrust and banter of a footballing environment?

"I’m okay with everybody. Football is a game where being like that helps because it is a team game.

"My main friends at Tottenham are Johnnie Jackson, Alton Thelwell, Ledley King, Ian Hillier, Gavin Kelly — players that came through from the youth team.

"Socially it’s fairly good, I have made some English friends, my girlfriend is going to come over maybe, who knows?

"Everything is fine, now I am in England it is good for me."

By Richard Hubbard