New signing Højbjerg: 'I feel lucky... and I still want to learn'
Tue 11 August 2020, 18:42|Tottenham Hotspur
Straight away, you can tell Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is a man of principle.
It’s now just over eight years since he left home in Copenhagen as a 16-year-old to pursue his footballing dreams with an initial move to Bayern Munich, six years since he made his senior international debut for Denmark and four years since he first came to the Premier League with Southampton.
Yet with every achievement at Bayern – he played supporting roles in back-to-back Bundesliga title wins while still a teenager and started Bayern’s German Cup Final victory in 2014 – and with every time he wore the captain’s armband for the Saints – he was appointed their skipper in late-2018 – he’s maintained one burning desire. It’s something that he made abundantly clear in his first interview after completing his move to the Club – he wants to be the best possible version of himself, for the benefit of all concerned.
“I’m very proud, very happy, I’m also very excited to be here – I just want to get going, meet everyone and play football,” he smiled after putting pen to paper on a contract with us until 2025, before explaining what he aims to offer.
“I like to bring energy, I like to bring wins – hopefully! I just think you get me, 100 per cent. I love to be the best team player I can be and I like to make people better, I like to make the team better and I think it’s important to be aware of what your role is, who you’re playing against and what is demanded from you. Many of the small details all go into one big important thing.
“From the first moment I got to speak to the people at the club, the coach, I think it was very clear to me that Spurs is a very big club but also a club with even more potential to reach the ultimate, and I wanted so much to be a part of that. I think there is a fantastic future ahead for the club and hopefully for me as well.”
For someone with so much top-level experience under his belt, it’s remarkable to think our new signing only turned 25 last week. Yet the hard-working central midfielder insists he’s hungry to keep learning – and is looking long-term as he bids to establish himself in our colours.
“I think Spurs have fantastic players, a fantastic manager, a fantastic set-up and I feel lucky and proud to be a part of it,” he said. “I want to give my everything but I also want to learn a lot. I want to be better and what was very important for me is that I wanted to play at a club where I could see myself for many years – and Tottenham was just the one. So I’m very happy and proud to be here. The leaders and the players that we have… world class. And the coach also… world class. So again, to learn from them, to play with them and to see how they behave, it’s a dream but it’s also something that you have to learn from and get excited about – and I am, a lot!”
Pierre, as he tells us we’re okay to call him – he’s Pierre “casually, among friends” and Pierre-Emile for anything more formal – speaks quietly but with enthusiasm and a sense of wisdom that commands respect. He’s clearly thrilled to be here – and his eyes lit up even more when our new stadium came up in conversation.
“That was also one of the first things I said, especially to my wife,” he smiled, recalling his two games against us for Southampton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last season. “I said that hopefully one day when the fans are allowed in again, (I want) to be the first one in that stadium because it’s unreal. It is really among the best – maybe the best. The stadium is something to be proud of and it’s amazing to have that stadium as a home now, hopefully with lots of good memories, lots of good achievements and titles in it.”
Fluent in French as well as Danish, German and English, we asked Pierre to sum up his character away from football in his own words: “I don’t know… ask my wife!” he laughed. “I like to keep things simple, I like to have a rhythm, I like to enjoy life, but mainly my life will be here at the training ground or at home with the kids. I had a kid about six weeks ago, my daughter is almost three and with my wife, I’m good, settled and now I’m at this fantastic club so I’m also well settled.”
Underlining his delight at signing for us, Pierre added: “I’m just so happy and it feels – I don’t want to say perfect because nothing is perfect – but it feels right, now that I am a part of this team and this club, because I feel I have something to give and I also feel that the club has so much for me to learn from to become better. I became a very good player at Southampton but I want to become an even better player and honestly there is no better place with the coach, the people at the top, the players and now all that I have seen of the training ground and the system… there is no better place to try to become a world-class player.”