Nkoudou on Leverkusen and learning
Tue 01 November 2016, 19:08|Tottenham Hotspur
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou says he’s loving the intense nature of our matches as we prepare for our latest UEFA Champions League test at Wembley on Wednesday night.
The young Frenchman made an eye-catching cameo appearance off the bench as we chased a second goal during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City, having earned his first start in our colours at Liverpool in the EFL Cup last week.
While he admits neither result was what we were after, in particular the 2-1 defeat at Anfield, the 21-year-old former Marseille attacker is maintaining a positive outlook as he looks forward to our return clash with Bayer Leverkusen at the national stadium, just a fortnight after the goalless draw out in Germany.
“For me, the Champions League is incredible,” smiled GK. “It’s a dream to be involved because when I was a young boy I used to watch the Champions League all the time, so to get the chance to live that dream and play in the competition is great.
“It would have been nicer to have got the three points in Leverkusen but obviously we couldn’t. We’re going to have to win this game to go forward, so we will give it our best and I hope to play a part.”
Asked whether he was taken aback by the physical nature of Saturday’s Premier League battle with Leicester, the wide man added: “I wasn’t really surprised by the physicality of it – I’d prepared myself for that. I just wanted to make sure I was warmed-up to come onto the pitch and make an impact. Certainly the Premier League is a more intense and physical game than the French league but I’m enjoying playing in it.
“I’ve worked really hard to get to play on the pitch, although I wasn’t particularly happy with my own performance in the Liverpool game. It was good to play against Liverpool because they are another big team but it’s something that I can improve on for future games.”
Impressive as a second-half substitute in our 1-0 win away to CSKA Moscow last month, GK has made six appearances in all competitions for us to date. Since his summer arrival he’s been working hard to acclimatise to life at the Club and revealed that he enjoys the company of fellow new acquisition Moussa Sissoko, plus young midfielder Marcus Edwards, during any down-time he gets at Hotspur Way.
“I think I’ve adapted well to life in England, I’ve settled in nicely and in the changing rooms I get on with everyone,” he said. “Obviously I get on with Moussa Sissoko because he speaks French but all the guys are great – Dele Alli, Kyle Walker, everyone! Off the pitch I speak a lot to Marcus Edwards as well. I try to speak English with Marcus and Marcus tries to speak to French with me! He’s getting quite good! We talk about everything really – FIFA video games, life, families, things like that. We’re friends off the pitch and we enjoy having a laugh together.”