Japhet: “Walking around, I had chills”
Mon 16 August 2021, 16:15|Tottenham Hotspur
It was one of those moments... and one Japhet Tanganga will never forget.
With 83 minutes on the clock, leading 1-0 against City, and having given every ounce of effort in a dominant display against the dual threat of Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish, Japhet was replaced by Matt Doherty, fresh legs to see the game out.
Japhet stepped off at the corner of the East/South stands, and had to walk around the pitch back to the bench. What a walk! A standing ovation from all four corners, 17,000 in the South Stand breaking into a chorus of ‘he’s one of our own’. Japhet has had a tough 18 months or so with injuries since initially bursting onto the scene against Liverpool in January, 2020, but it felt like he put down a marker in this fantastic win on Sunday.
“As a kid, you dream about these things,” said Japhet. “For it to happen to me was an amazing feeling. Honestly, walking around, I had chills. I had to contain myself coming around to the bench. It was an amazing feeling and I really appreciate it.
“It wasn’t just me, it was everyone, we all put a shift in. We’ve worked hard on it, we all put a shift in during pre-season on the fitness side of the game. It was great to have the fans back as well, urging us on. We definitely felt their presence in the stadium, so it was a great feeling for everyone. I’m just glad they recognised the work we’ve put in and we gave them a win.”
Heung-Min Son struck again against City – his seventh - as we made it four wins out of four against Pep Guardiola’s men at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It was no less than we deserved, as well. Japhet starred alongside fellow Academy graduate Oliver Skipp, but it was a team of stars, defensively solid, the midfield three so strong and front three so dangerous, especially on the break, one of which led to Sonny’s winner.
“They were champions last season for a reason - anything less than 100 per cent from us and they have the quality to pick us off,” added Japhet. “We had to be on it, make sure we’re ready and you could see from our performance, the hard work, players going down with cramp... we’ve put in the hard work, and it showed.”
Japhet was certainly ‘on it’, refusing to give Sterling and Grealish a yard of space. “I had my tactics,” he said. “I knew coming into this game I had six weeks of preparation and I knew I had to go after Raheem to make sure he didn’t grow into the game. I thought not just me, but the whole team did that, and it paid off, we got the three points.”