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WTPS: All about Teddy

Posted on 29 September 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).

Saturday's newspapers are, naturally, all about Teddy Sheringham's first match against Manchester United after returning to Spurs from Old Trafford in the summer.

The Mirror go big with a back-page lead on Glenn Hoddle's comments that he is ready for an England recall.

John Dillon's pre-match feature on Teddy also goes over two pages in the Mirror and the Sun, Star, Express and Telegraph all run comprehensive pieces with quotes from Glenn and Sir Alex Ferguson.

John Dillon's piece also quotes Les Ferdinand and reads as follows...

The big-match build-up at White Hart Lane today will include a black-and-white film of all the glory, glory years.

The joke among Spurs fans, told respectfully of course, is that if you look hard enough at all those memories of Greaves, Gilzean, Chivers and Co, you can see the club's current forward line in the crowd shots.

Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand rack up 69 years between them. Gus Poyet chips in from just behind with another 33.

That might not seem a good idea at a place that has lived on memories for a long, long time now - were it not for the extraordinary effect of what can only be described as the Sheringham phenomenon.

At 35, he is the current owner of both Footballer of the Year trophies. And he has begun his second career at Tottenham as if he does not intend to give them back.

"The way he is playing, you could easily think he will go on for years and years yet," said Ferdinand as he and the other old boys prepared for another of their countless big occasions, the visit from Sheringham's former employer Sir Alex Ferguson.

"The special thing about Ted is that he knew enough, was good enough when he left Spurs to join United in 1997.

"Now he has come back having learned that extra thing - how to win. He has had success. He has had the enjoyment and the taste of it.

"And it doesn't just have an effect on him, it actually gets through to the whole team. It inspires everyone to try to achieve more.

"You can see all his years of experience in everything he does in a game. He is a naturally clever player anyway and everything he has done and learned has added to that."

At some point in any interview about two veteran strikers playing together, it is more or less obligatory to describe them as "the oldest gun-slingers in town".

"You could call us that," said Ferdinand. "But if the boss wants us to play, we are going to be there, no matter what our ages. That is his choice right now and we are loving it.

"And there is no doubt that there is a great benefit from experience that means players like myself and Ted know how to work together with understanding. We played together for England quite a few times, anyway.

"He sees so much in the game, but if you have been playing for a long time, you also get to know how to think ahead, too, how to work out what someone else is thinking of or planning to do. And these days we can all go on playing for a lot longer. I have recently signed a new contract for two years.

"We know so much more these days about fitness and looking after ourselves that if you get it right, work hard and have a bit of luck, you can go on well into your thirties. We are the proof of that right now."

United boss Ferguson obviously has the same faith in the virtues of experience.

It is the 35-year old Laurent Blanc who will be attempting to out-think and out-muscle Ferdinand and Sheringham today, rather than the departed 29-year old Jaap Stam.

Beside him will Ronny Johnsen, at 32 about to enter the final phase of his career.

Hoddle knew he needed some wise old heads around to give him a solid start to his Tottenham reign. When skipper Sheringham scored twice against Chelsea a fortnight ago, any lingering resentment about the way he left for Old Trafford in 1997 was wiped out.

The feeling was the same when Ferdinand got his new contract in the summer, even though he had spent much of the previous two years battling injury. His muscular presence up front is certainly more welcome to the fans than that of Sergei Rebrov - and, it seems, to Hoddle too.

Twenty minutes into the new season, though, Ferdinand was limping off against Aston Villa. The look on his face told a tale of anguish at the thought it was all about to start again. "I had a couple of games out, but I got back," he said.

"I'd had a good pre-season and the injury cleared up. I really feel as good as I have ever done as a player. There is enjoyment in playing in this team, too. It is an exciting team,

"Things are still coming together, but we played so well against Chelsea two weeks ago and never deserved to lose."And we got a significantresult by winning at Sunderland. "I have got medals to win. When your career does end, it is lovely to have money and a nice house and a nice car. But success, trophies - that is what the whole thing is really about."

Sheringham collected armfuls of them in his four years at Old Trafford, including the European Cup, after years of barren frustration at Nottingham Forest and Spurs.

It turned him into a figure of genuine stature within football. Certainly his boss Hoddle insists Sheringham could carry on pulling the strings for his attack beyond his current deal.

"When I signed him, I said that there is a good likelihood that he will go on beyond his two year contract because of the way he plays," Hoddle said.

"He is still the master of that link role up front."

Meanwhile, in the Mail, Martin Lipton interviews Darren Anderton.

That piece reads as follows...

Darren Anderton will not be anxiously turning to Ceefax at 7pm tomorrow to see if he is in Sven Goran Eriksson's squad for the World Cup qualifying decider against Greece.

In six months though, it could all be different. Anderton may have become a forgotten man as far as England are concerned, but in his own mind, he knows he is good enough to grace another World Cup. If only he can stay fit.

A familiar story? Yes, as Anderton does not need telling. But having come from nowhere to make two major championship squads for England, he believes the hat-trick is more than possible.

The key is proving himself in the Premiership. Today's visit of Manchester United to White Hart Lane is the sort of opportunity Anderton craves.

Relaxed, and ready, the 28-year-old seems for once to have faith in his body. If it does not let him down, it is down to his quality. Suddenly, the equation will look very different. No wonder there is a glint in his eye.

Anderton said: 'People have never really questioned my ability. I've always been slaughtered for the injuries, not the playing. If I can just be playing, hopefully I'm going to be noticed.

'I feel I'm good enough to play for England. My main aim is to be fit and playing for Spurs, but there is a World

Cup at the end of the season I'd love to be involved in, like any other player. I've not given up on that.

'If I have a season where I'm fully fit, I don't see why I shouldn't have a chance. In the past my body's let me down. But I'm back again.'

That was a defiant comment, from a player always happier on the pitch than off it. Of course, he has spent too much time in treatment rooms, hating the 'Sicknote' label pinned on him.

It is one he has learned to take. Too often, he has looked back to his best, only to be struck down again. As he was last season, missing the last four months of the campaign with an achilles problem.

German specialist Hans Muller Wohlfahrt has devised an extensive programme Anderton has to undergo every day for the rest of his career. There is no alternative, but he accepts the burden.

Anderton added: 'I've had some dark days, sitting there and asking myself: "Who built me and why?"

'At last I feel like I'm getting there. I think I'm winning.

I've got to try to be positive and not dwell on what's happened. I'm trying to do everything right now.'

If he does, then, as in 1996 and two years later, Anderton believes he can be the one to make a late run from nowhere into the England squad.

Hard to believe perhaps, but at France '98, the Spurs player, not David Beckham, played on the right in all four matches and scored a devastating goal in the 2-0 win over Colombia.

Anderton, always self-effacing, smiled at the memory.

'I know that surprised a few people,' he said. 'I think I had a good World Cup. I felt great then. I surprised myself fitness-wise.

'It means I've done it and played in a World Cup. No-one can ever take that away. It was against the odds, because I'd been struggling against injury all season, but that's the pinnacle, what it's all about.'

Of course it was Glenn Hoddle who showed faith in him three years ago, and his appointment as Spurs boss last April helped persuade Anderton to extend his stay at White Hart Lane into a 10th season and beyond.

Yet, there were doubts, especially after the final blast from Alan Sugar, who mocked Anderton's fitness record - suggesting the British Medical Association might want his body 'for future research' - and relationship with Eileen Drewery, accusing him of 'moaning like an old woman'.

That still hurts. Anderton said: 'It was strange. If he wanted to say something like that, he could've picked up the phone and spoken to me.

'I was down at the time and reading something like that was the last thing I needed.

'What he did was wrong.' The changed mood at Spurs is obvious from even a casual visit. Anderton's relationship with George Graham was strained at times, but in the new manager he sees a kindred footballing spirit.

Anderton said: 'I worked with Glenn before, so I knew that his style of football would be something I would enjoy. I signed a four-year contract, which is a state-ment of intent.

'We're looking to pass the ball about. Glenn wants to be successful, but by playing what he calls the right way. That's my way as well. To be at my best I've got to be in a team that wants to play.

'I think we've got a good blend, with youngsters coming through like Ledley King and good buys like Gus (Poyet) and Teddy (Sheringham). His coming back to the club was one of the reasons I stayed.'

Anderton feels the new-look Spurs are 'getting there' but a visit from the champions will put the Hoddle blueprint

in truer perspective. At the centre of the game this afternoon, Anderton's role when Beckham, Scholes and Co step out at Old Trafford to face the Greeks next week will be different. But not, he hopes, for long.

He said: 'Looking at the way the England team is being set up now it looks as if the left side could be open. I'm more right-footed, but I have played on the left-hand side and it worked well in Euro 96.

'I'll be watching next week. I tell myself that I hate watching, but I always watch. I'm English and just want us to do well, but a bit of it will be me thinking that it could give me a chance of going to the World Cup.

'If I get my fitness and am playing well, then I might be a bit keener to find out who's in the squad by March or April.'

He may have good reason for hunting the remote control.