Vertonghen, Dembele, Kane, Eriksen and more preview Lane Finale
Thu 11 May 2017, 17:48|Tottenham Hotspur
With the curtain set to come down on White Hart Lane on Sunday, we’ve been speaking to some of the players to get their views on this momentous occasion.
Manchester United are the visitors for a 4.30pm kick-off and, while the players are understandably focused on producing a positive outcome on the pitch, the universal feeling among them is one of pride and excitement at the chance to be involved in the last ever game at our world-famous stadium.
Approaching the end of their fifth season at the club, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele fondly recalled some of their favourite moments at the Lane while long-serving academy product Harry Kane spoke about just what the stadium means to him.
Christian Eriksen, who has been able to call the Lane home for the last four years, also had his say along with Ben Davies and Eric Dier, who have both featured for the last three seasons.
Here’s what they all had to say…
What does White Hart Lane mean to you?
“It’s our home – the home for the Spurs. We have great memories there, we’ve beaten big teams, enjoyed great European nights and everything. It will be hard to leave but we will have a new home soon enough. It’s always a shame to leave a place like this but it’s for a bigger cause.”
Any favourite moments at the Lane?
“I think everyone remembers that Arsenal game where Harry scored twice and we came back late to win 2-1 (in February, 2015). You can pick 10 games this season alone, we have this unbeaten run which will hopefully last until the end but, for me, that Arsenal game is the one I’ll always remember.”
What are your feelings towards White Hart Lane?
“It’s an amazing stadium, it’s got a good atmosphere and if you talk about Tottenham, people always talk about the stadium and say ‘wow, it’s a good atmosphere’. Other stadiums are maybe bigger but the atmosphere is nice and it will be good to see us bring this to the new stadium as well. It has a special effect for everyone, for us as players too. We always love to play there for our club.”
What’s been your stand-out moment at the stadium?
“I’ve scored so many goals (laughs)! Maybe the first game when I came in and I scored (debut against Norwich in September, 2012) – that was nice. Then there was the goal against Anderlecht, of course (late winner in November, 2015), and other games too – the 5-3 win against Chelsea on January 1, 2015, and this year we’ve dominated against some big teams at the Lane. It was a good feeling for all of those games so there are quite a few happy moments.”
Tell us what White Hart Lane means to you…
“Just walking through the stadium you sense the legend and the history. The photos on the wall, the memorabilia in the cabinets, it’s a special place. There have been a lot of good times there – and some bad of course – but that’s all part of what makes White Hart Lane the place it is. Sunday’s game will be a sad occasion I’m sure, the end of an era. But at the same time, we are now going into an amazing stadium and hopefully the new one will bring even bigger and better memories.”
What has it been like for you to be at the centre of some of the modern-day memorable moments at the Lane?
“It has been a bit of a whirlwind over the last few years and in a way, it’s been a bit surreal to be creating history there having watched it being done myself. It’s great to have been a part of the history there and I’ve had some special moments at the stadium, even though I’ve only been playing in it for a few years.”
Are you confident of maintaining our unbeaten run at the Lane this season for one final game?
“To be unbeaten at home in any season is fantastic but to do it in our last season at White Hart Lane would be amazing. It would be the perfect finale to win on Sunday and the players know how important it is. We also want to secure that second place.”
Growing up in Denmark and then playing in Holland, how much had you heard about White Hart Lane before you arrived here?
“The stadium has its history with it and everyone knows when you say White Hart Lane, you know it’s the home of Tottenham. You don’t need to say it’s Tottenham’s stadium because everybody knows where it is and what it is. It’s an amazing stadium, it’s not the biggest but the atmosphere is incredible. I think for all the players here now, it’s been a great place to play with a lot of great games and some very good memories.”
Have you got a stand-out moment from your time at the Lane?
“All the games really – whenever we’ve been playing there we’ve been playing well and you can feel the fans, feel the crowd around the stadium and know that they really like what they’re seeing. On the pitch, you just feel really comfortable playing there. It’s difficult to pick out one game because there’s been loads!”
How will you approach the task of taking on Manchester United?
“We’ll approach it as we do with every game. When we played Arsenal it was the last north London derby at the Lane but we did very well and hopefully we’ll do the same in the last ever game at White Hart Lane this weekend. Obviously it’s a different day for everyone around us but we have to focus on the game and give our best to win.”
What are your thoughts on White Hart Lane?
“It’s been my home now for the last three years and it’s a great stadium. We’ve had a good record there this year and hopefully we can keep it going as we move forward to Wembley and then to our new home.”
Do you feel the atmosphere out on the pitch?
“Of course we do. The fans have got us through a lot of games there when it’s been tough for us but at the same time, when we’re doing well they’re right behind us and pushing us on even further. They’ve definitely got us over the line in a lot of games at White Hart Lane.”
Tell us about your feelings towards White Hart Lane…
“Emotional times! Obviously it’s a fantastic stadium with its history and it’s been a great place for me to play over the last three years. It’s somewhere where I’ve learned a lot and gone through some great times, some not-so good times as well, but it will always be a very special place for me and all the players who have played there.”
What’s your favourite moment there?
“The goal against Manchester City (equaliser in 4-1 win in September, 2015) has to be up there, or my first start there against QPR (August, 2014) when I scored as well – that was a very good day. We’ve been lucky enough to have lots of very good moments there over the last three years.”
Thoughts on Sunday’s match against United...
“It’s going to be a very difficult game. We’ve got to play the match and not the occasion, but obviously we want to win so that we can enjoy the ceremony at the end to the fullest extent.”