Programme: Les Ferdinand
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).
<SPAN lang=EN-US>Jon Rayner catches up with striker Les Ferdinand.</SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US></SPAN><P><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>You came off injured in the last home match against Southampton, what was the problem?</B></SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US></SPAN><P><SPAN lang=EN-US>I pulled my hamstring slightly, against Leyton Orient in the F.A. Cup match, and then missed the Everton game as a result. I trained in the week leading up to the Southampton visit and felt fine. Then, after about 20 minutes against Saints, I was chasing a ball and I felt it go again which was a disappointment, to put it mildl</SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US>y.</SPAN><P><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>How long will this sideline you for?</B></SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US>?</SPAN><P><SPAN lang=EN-US>The injury is not too bad, and I hope to be back sooner rather than later. Thankfully, it is nothing serious, just a niggle. Every player gets all sorts of minor niggles throughout the season and, unfortunately, it was my turn again! I probably won't play in the next game, but as soon after that as possible.</SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US></SPAN><P><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>Things have gone fairly well for you this season, in terms of fitness, you must be relieved after what was such a frustrating time last year.</B></SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US></SPAN><P><SPAN lang=EN-US>Yes, life is going pretty well. Barring the Everton game and the first couple of matches of the season, I have played in every game. I have scored a few goals too so I am pleased with the way I am playing.It's been great being out there training everyday with the lads, which is something I missed out a lot on last year, and then being fit to play. Every player trains with a hope of playing on the Saturday and to be actually doing it again is brilliant.</SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US></SPAN><P><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>Your hat-trick against Leicester City must have been a real high for you after such a low ebb last term. How did that feel?</B></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>Scoring one or two goals in a game is a great feeling, but to score three is always special. It was particularly pleasing too because before that match I don't think Leicester had let in more than one goal in a game away from home. To score a hat-trick was a big bonus for me. Not only that, I found out afterwards, that I was only the second player to score a hat-trick for three different top flight clubs, which was a bit of a milestone as well. Kevin Campbell being the only other one to do it. I did get to a stage last season when I wondered would I ever run again without any pain, was it the end of my career? Luckily things got sorted, it took a long time, but my questions were answered. I was able to get out there, get myself to a level of fitness where I was able to participate in Premiership games again, and feel as good as I had for ages.</SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>Our strikers haven't had the best of luck with injuries have they?</B></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>I have said to people, jokingly, that I think the strikers are jinxed here! Just when we look like everyone is getting back to fitness someone pulls up again. At the start of the season everyone was saying, this is what we need, competition for places, four fit strikers and bang, Steffen Iversen got injured, Chris Armstrong followed, and myself and Sergei Rebrov have both been injured at different times. We have only had two fit strikers at the same time, sometimes only one, and the manager has had to play players out of position, with Willem Korsten and Gary Doherty stepping in.</SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>The youngsters have done well for the team when called upon, that must be one positive aspect to come out of it.</B></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>It has been a good time for the younger players to get the opportunities. Sometimes your hands are tied, you have to make decisions and the youngsters get the chances. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Fortunately for us it has. The younger players that have come in have done very well and that bodes well for the future for Tottenham Hotspur.</SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>You seem to have been prone to more than your fair share of head injuries lately, is it a sign of the modern game or have you just been unlucky?</B></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>I think I have just been unfortunate. I have had a few bangs on my head this season and the one against Arsenal was the one that got me the most! Everyone was telling me that I was jumping and getting caught, so I must protect myself and get up again quickly, but most of the time I was getting a bang after I had flicked the ball on. Someone jumps in from behind, but you can't see where they are coming from, you know they are coming, but you just hope that they don't make contact with you. Unfortunately, for me this season there has been a lot of contact. In the incident against Arsenal, I chested the ball down, fell backwards and Martin Keown went to kick the ball away and ended up accidentally kicking me in the back of the head!</SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>Presumably, there has been no serious damage caused.</B></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>I have seen a neurosurgeon a few times. In fact, the last time I went to see him I said that he must have a revolving door because I keep coming back! Fortunately so far, although some people may say otherwise, I don't think there has been too much damage done!</SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>The modern game seems to have created a situation where ever-present players are a thing of the past. Do you agree?</B></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>Yes, it is very rare nowadays &mdash; if you look at any Premiership club &mdash; that you will find a player that will play the whole season without any problems, not even goalkeepers. Everyone at some stage will have a niggle and have to miss at least one or two games.Obviously, you want to play in every match, but it is just not going to happen now. The physical demands of the Premiership mean that you are going to miss games from time to time.</SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>Why do you think the physical demands are much greater now?</B></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>The action is constant. All the different introductions to keep the game flowing are great for the spectator but have meant that, as a player, you don't get the short spells to literally get your breath back. That is why it is imperative that your fitness is good, and that is maybe why people are picking up so many niggles. If you are not at the top level of fitness, then maybe you are more prone to injuries.I f you look at Manchester United, they have got a huge squad where they are able to rotate players and they do it all the time with great success. It goes to show that managers are aware of the demands, but it is just whether you are in a position to do it or not. Long gone are the days when you could use just 15 or so players and win the Championship. I suppose that is why the Premiership is the most entertaining.</SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US><B>At this stage of your career, do you look ahead and wonder how much longer you will be playing at this level?</B></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>When you get to 30 everyone tends to start telling you how your career is coming to an end! I've said to people, because I have had the injuries and have rested my body over the last year or so, maybe that time will be added on to the end of my career! I'm still feeling good though, and while I still feel that I am able to do a job in the Premiership and I feel that I am fit enough then I will carry on. The day I think it is getting too much for me, I'll know myself it will be time to stop. You can't say that you want to play for another three or five years, I will play until my body tells me otherwise. But, at the moment, I do feel that I have got another couple of good years in me, at least.</SPAN><SPAN lang=EN-US></SPAN><P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>&nbsp;<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></SPAN>