Programme: Teddy Sheringham
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).
Teddy Sheringham was the right man in the right place at the right time last Monday, as he seems to have been on numerous occasions for both club and country this season.
With just four minutes remaining of our Premiership clash with tonight’s visitors Bolton and the scores locked at 2-2, all eyes were on Christian Ziege as he stepped up to take a free-kick near the touchline deep in Bolton’s half.
Quick as a flash, the ball was in the back of the net courtesy of a trademark Teddy header, giving us a 3-2 victory which had looked unlikely at half-time. It was such a typical goal from our captain, one which we’ve seen time and again during his two spells with us and which we will no doubt witness many more times.
"It was a lovely goal to score," admits Teddy, as he tucked into a well-earned pasta dish after training at Spurs Lodge. "I’d seen there was a lot of space at the near-post and hoped that Christian would whip in a quick cross to that area which he did.
"We hadn’t planned it beforehand but he puts a ball in so fast that if you get across your man you’ve always got a chance. The goalkeeper wasn’t expecting it and it was great to score."
Teddy’s strike, his seventh of the season if you include his first-touch equaliser in England’s World Cup qualifier against Greece at Old Trafford, secured three hard-fought points for us, a result which delighted the skipper.
"It was a tough game," he says. "They’d already won away at Manchester United and drawn with Arsenal at Highbury, so we knew it would be difficult and the one thing we didn’t want to do was go a goal down otherwise it would become even harder.
"Ideally, in a game like that you want to get the first goal and make them have to come out at you which would then give us more space in behind them.
"So it was the worst possible start to concede early, but great character was shown by everyone to come back the way we did. Even when they pulled it back to 2-2, we had to really dig deep which we all did on the night. It was a very satisfying result."
A difficult first half for us, in which we struggled to break Bolton down, was transformed at the interval thanks in the main to a double substitution which saw Les Ferdinand and Goran Bunjevcevic replace Chris Perry and Steffen Freund. Those changes were vital to the end result, believes Teddy.
"I thought they were great substitutions which played a major factor," he says. "Chris and Steffen had been playing well but it was a tactical change, the idea being to really overload them in areas where they had a lot of players.
"We needed to up the tempo so getting the first goal so soon after half-time was crucial and the second one coming immediately after the first was ideal for us. It was good play from Goran to set up Les, whose finish was unbelievable. Les went on from there and showed why he was needed at a time like that, he played really well and lifted all of us."
Tonight, though, it’s back to square one as we renew rivalries with Sam Allardyce’s side with a place in the Worthington Cup semi-finals up for grabs.
"It always seems to happen that way, doesn’t it? You meet a team in the league and draw them in the cup days later," Teddy says. "Whether it will be a different game tonight I don’t know. There’s every chance they will play the same tactics but we just have to show the same character and attitude we showed last week, we were spot on with both and we’ve got to maintain that."
On the international scene, Teddy allowed his thoughts to briefly turn towards the World Cup last weekend as the draw for the finals was made. Despite being grouped with Argentina, Nigeria and Sweden, he feels it’s not as bad a draw for England as everyone is perhaps making out.
"I’m very pleased with it," he reveals. "People, especially here in England, think that if you get one of the lesser teams then it’s a walkover but that’s not the case in international football. At least now, people know we have to be at our best to beat those three teams. If we do beat them, it’s an achievement so we know we have to go into it from the first kick with the right attitude.
"Then if we get out of the group, confidence will be high and we can go on from there. Having said all that, I can’t think about the World Cup at this stage of the season. Everyone else can get excited about it but until you’re actually there, you can’t do that. As a footballer, there are a lot of things that can happen between now and then, so it’s important to put it at the back of my mind and concentrate on Tottenham.
"We are enjoying our football here and playing with confidence at the moment, but unfortunately that won’t run throughout the season," Teddy continues. "All teams have a lull at some point, when injuries and suspensions hit them, so while we are in good form and good shape, it’s important to capitalise and keep it going."