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*Vintage year for Simon

Posted on 27 December 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).

Simon Davies is a realist. It's one of the qualities that has got him to where he is today.

So perhaps with him currently battling to win back his regular midfield spot again after suspension, it wasn't the best time to talk about what an incredible year he's had.

Football is all about now and, as the midfielder, honest as ever and completely unaffected by his rise to fame both domestically and internationally, would say later, stand still and everyone will go past you.

So I remind him about the past 11 and a bit months, kicking off with his goal against Chelsea in the Worthington Cup in January, starting 90 per cent of our Premiership matches for the rest of the year and his magnificent first three months of this campaign.

And then there's Wales. A draw with Argentina, beating Germany, goals in three successive internationals including the moment of his life against Italy at the Millennium Stadium, massive steps towards Euro 2004 qualificiation and, to cap the lot, being named Welsh Player of the Year.

"If you'd have told me where I am now compared to where I was a year ago I would have taken it with both hands. That just about sums it up," he reflected.

"I had a great time at the end of last season and again at the start of this season and you get those spells in football. I'm just hoping for another one soon.

"Football is all about highs and lows and you have to enjoy the highs while they last and battle through the lows.

"Overall I'm delighted with how it's gone. There have been a few hitches here and there but that's to be expected. I'm happy with the progress."

Progress is Simon's key word. It's the word he's used whenever he's been in the spotlight at Spurs following his move from Peterborough United almost three years ago.

He knows he has to progress because he's up against the likes of Gus Poyet, Darren Anderton, Steffen Freund, Jamie Redknapp and Steve Clemence - all fit and, with Glenn Hoddle oting for his 3-5-2 system, all competing for three places.

"If you stand still everyone will go past you. I've always been lucky enough to realise that. I've now got to do it all again.

"You feel like you have to play well to stay in the team otherwise you can be taken out again.

"The first three months of this season were brilliant but everyone is back now and I've got to try and get back into the team."

Still, when times are hard at the Lane, the word 'Wales' instantly brings a smile to his face.

He has played in all of Wales' seven internationals this season - they are unbeaten in 2002 (in fact, since September 2001) - and scored in successive internationals against Croatia, Finland and Italy.

They are top and in complete charge of their Euro 2004 qualifying group and a place in the finals in Portugal beckons.

"The Welsh thing has been been great for me," he added. "It's a dream to represent your country and so far for me it's gone brilliantly.

"I couldn't have asked for a better start. We've got a good chance of making it through to the finals of a major tournament in what is really my first campaign.

"If you get a chance to reflect then it has been a great year."

By Paul Miles