Tag Archives: sterling

Raheem Sterling hails Steven Gerrard

Gerrard's got my back! Liverpool youngster Sterling hails inspirational captain

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

06:23 GMT, 11 January 2013

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UPDATED:

07:47 GMT, 11 January 2013

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has paid tribute to Steven Gerrard, describing the Reds captain as an 'inspiration'.

The 18-year-old has been a regular in Brendan Rodgers' staring XI this season, with his performances earning a call-up to the England squad for the recent friendly against Sweden.

Gerrard is Sterling's leader for both club and country and the Jamaican-born teenager, who joined from QPR in February 2010, cannot speak highly enough of his skipper.

Taking action: Raheem Sterling (right) says if anyone kicks him on the pitch, Steven Gerrard (left) makes sure to get them back

Taking action: Raheem Sterling (right) says if anyone kicks him on the pitch, Steven Gerrard (left) makes sure to get them back

'He has been brilliant for me. He's always looking after me, always checking to see if I'm alright,' Sterling told the Mirror. 'I've noticed as well that if anyone touches me on the pitch, he'll always get them straight back with a tackle.

'He's always looking after me, on the pitch, off the pitch.

'He looked after me when I first joined the club, got into the team and when I was looking for somewhere to live. He's an inspiration and a great captain.'

Liverpool will need Gerrard and Sterling to be at their best for this weekend's match against rivals and current Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United.

It will be the first time Sterling will play United at Old Trafford, the team he admits to following when he first moved to Britain.

'I need to keep that quiet,' he said. 'But when you start playing for a team, you immediately start supporting them because you want to do your best for your team and you always want them to do well.

'The older boys say that Manchester United is one of the hardest places to go. The pitch is massive and in the last 10 minutes they say it gets even bigger.

'Hopefully we can go there, do our best and come out with a result even though it's going to be very, very hard, a real test.

Ready to go: Sterling can't wait to take on Manchester United on Sunday

Ready to go: Sterling can't wait to take on Manchester United on Sunday

'The atmosphere in the dressing room is brilliant. We've got Gerrard and (Jamie) Carragher, they're real characters. They're going to make us know what sort of game it is, what it's like and get us ready for it.

'They've been on us all week, telling how important it is. To have people around like that is brilliant. They've been around for so long. They love to have a laugh, good personalities and you need those characters in the dressing room.'

The youngster has also thanked his mother for keeping his feet on the ground.

'My Mum rules my life – she’s a nightmare at times, but I love her and she’s the main person in my life,' explained Sterling. 'She has got a very strong personality and thinks she’s the boss!

'When I get home from training, she’s there, in my face. She’s there 24/7. I don’t know where she gets her knowledge from.

'At first she wouldn’t come to the games, but then she saw how much I liked it and really got into it. Now she thinks she’s Jose Mourinho!

'Some of the stuff she’s telling me, the manager is telling me as well. She really knows about the game and how to play, what to do.'

Crunch time: Sterling admitted that he used to support United

Crunch time: Sterling admitted that he used to support United

With Liverpool currently in eighth, Sterling is hopeful a positive result at Old Trafford can kickstart their season.

'I think we should be doing better,' he added 'We'd like to be higher in the table.

'The manager has bright ideas, he's a good manager.

'We didn't start too well, but we're improving all the time and we're going to kick on in 2013. It's going to be our year.

'The manager has got his plans, it's really coming together now. It will be a big 2013 for us. Daniel Sturridge has come in, he's a real player.'

Queens Park Rangers want Joe Cole from Liverpool

Redknapp planning Cole reunion as QPR boss plots survival mission

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UPDATED:

12:49 GMT, 30 December 2012

QPR are hoping to secure the loan signature of Joe Cole from Liverpool as they look to boost their Premier League survival bid.

Rangers manager Harry Redknapp gave Cole his breakthrough at West Ham and he is hoping to be reunited with the former England international when the transfer window opens in January.

On the move Joe Cole (right) is a target for Queens Park Rangers

On the move Joe Cole (right) is a target for Queens Park Rangers

According to the Sunday People, Liverpool are prepared to cover a large percentage of Cole’s 90,000-a-week wages and are willing to let the 31-year-old join QPR permanently should they avoid relegation.

Cole joined Liverpool in the summer of 2010 from Chelsea but he has struggled to hold down a first-team place under both former boss Kenny Dalglish – who loaned him out to Lille last season – and Brendan Rodgers, who has preferred the likes of Raheem Sterling and Sus

Raheem Sterling commits international future to England ahead of Jamaica

Sterling eyes place in Hodgson's starting XI after committing international future to England

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 25 December 2012

Raheem Sterling has pledged his international future to England and is determined to cement his place in Roy Hodgson’s squad by firing Liverpool’s push for the top four.

The Liverpool winger, who last week ended speculation about his club future by signing a five-year deal, won his first senior cap in the 4-2 defeat against Sweden last month and has represented England at every level from Under-16 onwards.

Sterling’s appearance in Stockholm, though, had not erased the possibility of him opting to pursue an international career with Jamaica – where he was born and the country where he lived until he was six – and the President of the Jamaican FA, Horace Burrell, held talks with him in October.

England man: Raheem Sterling has committed his international future to Roy Hodgson's Three Lions

England man: Raheem Sterling has committed his international future to Roy Hodgson's Three Lions

However, Sterling has revealed he will not be abandoning England, as he feels a debt of gratitude to the football system in which he has grown up. The 18-year-old can now expect to be given plenty more opportunities under Hodgson on the road to the 2014 World Cup.

'It was a dream come true (to play against Sweden),’ said Sterling. ‘As a 15-year-old I can remember sitting at home and praying to get an Under 16 call up, so to be getting a senior call-up a few years later was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

'I want to keep driving on and do a bit more. Obviously I’ve got Jamaican roots but no-one tried to put any pressure on me, which was the good thing. But I couldn’t turn my back on England because I’ve grown up through the English youth system and progressed from there.

New deal: Sterling has signed a new long term deal at Liverpool

New deal: Sterling has signed a new long term deal at Liverpool

'I couldn’t just switch over. So it was a good thing for me to be called up and make my debut. It’s 100 per cent going to be England from now on.’ This has been a whirlwind season for one with such a precocious talent and, in the space of five months, Sterling has gone from being an unheralded reserve to one of the most important players in Liverpool’s squad. His rise was reflected in the lucrative contract he signed last Friday.

Given all the talk that surrounded contract discussions, there has been a perception that Sterling is a cocky young man but that is far removed from the truth; his team-mates tell of him being humble, grounded and eager to learn. Sterling puts that down to the influence of his mother, Nadine.

Making an impact: Sterling burst onto the scene at Liverpool this season

Making an impact: Sterling burst onto the scene at Liverpool this season

'The contract was never about finance,’ said Sterling, who is expected to return to Liverpool’s starting line-up at Stoke this evening. ‘I just really wanted to get the contract sorted. When people were asking why I wasn’t signing it was at a time when we hadn’t even started negotiating

'Will I get distracted No. I’ve got a good mum who always looks after me and helps me to keep my head down so that’s good. It’s obviously good that my mum has moved up here with my brothers and sisters because it’s a good feeling to be with your family.’

It isn’t just with off the field matters that mother knows best. Sterling has only scored one goal in 26 appearances for Liverpool this year and the statistic has been noted, both in the manager’s office at Anfield and at home.

'Mum wouldn’t let my feet get off the ground,’ explained Sterling, who moved to Liverpool from QPR in February 2010. ‘She thinks she knows a lot about football. She tries to tell me what I can do better.

'Some of the things the manager is telling me she is telling me as well, like about getting into the box. She says: “You’re never in the box!” but she must have a point because the manager is saying it as well!’ I really need to kick on in the New Year and show the fans and the club what I can do.’

Raheem Sterling signs Liverpool contract as Brendan Rodgers fires warning

Players' greed may scupper new deals, warns Rodgers as Sterling pens new Liverpool contract

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 21 December 2012

Raheem Sterling finally signed a new five-year Liverpool deal on Friday after months of negotiations.

The 17-year-old England winger admitted it was a ‘relief’ that talks had reached a successful end. ‘It was so frustrating that everyone thought I was not going to sign when you know deep down that you are going to sign sooner or later,’ he said.

And boss Brendan Rodgers has warned potential signings they will talk themselves out of a move if their sole focus is money.

Signed, sealed, delivered: Raheem Sterling agreeing his new contract with Brendan Rodgers

Signed, sealed, delivered: Raheem Sterling agreeing his new contract with Brendan Rodgers

Shake on it: Sterling with Liverpool boss Rodgers

Shake on it: Sterling with Liverpool boss Rodgers

A 12million deal for Daniel
Sturridge stalled this week after it emerged Liverpool will not pay his
agents’ demands for a percentage of any sell-on fee. It comes as part of
a clampdown on the amount of fees the club are paying to middle men.

Rodgers, though, is determined to be
just as careful in terms of the money that goes to new arrivals. He
pulled out of a move for Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer because of the
terms being demanded and will not be afraid to do the same again.

‘You have to get hungry players in who want to work and want to fight to be successful – that is the biggest thing for me,’ said Rodgers, whose side face Fulham this evening for the first time since Liverpool’s very public pursuit of Clint Dempsey.

‘They will get a good contract coming here but if they want to argue over money, and other things that go around it, I don't want them here. In my experience those players will eventually let you down anyway.

‘So, for us, it is about getting players in who are hungry to succeed and to pull on the shirt. That's the simple message for any player coming here – you can't take the money and run. You have to earn the right to play for this club and to help us succeed.’

Raheem Sterling finally put pen-to-paper on a five-year deal yesterday after months of negotiations and the England winger admitted it was a “relief” that talks had reached a successful conclusion.

‘It was so frustrating that everyone (though I was) not going to sign when you know deep down that you are going to sign sooner or later,’ said Sterling, who has missed some training sessions this week through illness. ‘So it was just really good to get it over and done with. I'm happy with that.’

Raheem Sterling signs new Liverpool contract

Sterling ends speculation by signing new long-term contract with Liverpool

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 21 December 2012

England whizzkid Raheem Sterling has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool.

The 18-year-old winger has been in negotiations with the Anfield club for weeks over a new deal.

But, as revealed by Sportsmail this week, both parties have shaken hands on a deal for Sterling to stay with the Merseysiders for the foreseeable future.

Signed, sealed, delivered: Raheem Sterling agreeing his new contract with Brendan Rodgers

Signed, sealed, delivered: Raheem Sterling agreeing his new contract with Brendan Rodgers

'It's every 18-year-old's dream. I'm just really grateful to be at such a big club like this,' Sterling said.

'There's a lot more to be done. I haven't begun yet, as the manager has said. Hopefully I can kick on after the New Year and try to do my best for the team and the football club.'

Manager Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool provide the ideal environment in which Sterling can flourish.

There was a slight hold up to the deal being finalised as negotiations had to be thrashed out over the scale of his pay rise – from a reported 2,000-a-week to nearer 40,000.

But Rodgers insisted extended discussions were also about football as well as financial decisions.

Shake on it: Sterling with Liverpool boss Rodgers

Shake on it: Sterling with Liverpool boss Rodgers

'It was just making sure that we take
care in terms of the financial – but also the football – plan for the
player,' said the Reds boss.

'This was about a young player who
has rocketed from playing in the youth teams and the reserves into
becoming a full England international.

'A lot has happened in his young life and it was just about making sure that there was that protection for him going forward – both in his financial situation and his football plan.

'I have always been confident that this was going to be the best place for him and thankfully the kid is very focused and devoted to Liverpool.'

Jamaican-born Sterling had just 18 months left to run on his existing contract and ensuring the teenage sensation penned an extension was a top priority for the club.

And after several meetings between managing director Ian Ayre and Sterling's representatives the England international can now concentrate on establishing himself as a key member of Brendan Rodgers' plans.

A number of the Premier League's elite were lining up to take advantage of the uncertainty regarding Sterling's future next month.

Both Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea have watched Sterling extensively with a view to swooping for the forward in January.

Sterling, who started his career at Queens Park Rangers, has made rapid progress for Liverpool since breaking into the first team under Kenny Dalglish last season.

And his impressive breakthrough culminated in his first England cap, as he started in the defeat against Sweden last month.

However, he is still eligible to play for his native Jamaica given he has not played for the Three Lions in a competitive fixture yet.

Ayre said: 'This is another positive step forward for the football club in securing the long-term future of one of the country's brightest young talents.

One to watch: Sterling has come to the fore this season under manager Brendan Rodgers

One to watch: Sterling has come to the fore this season under manager Brendan Rodgers

'The negotiations were very positive and both parties acted in a very responsible way to reach an outcome that benefits both Raheem and Liverpool FC.

'Since the summer, Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jonjo Shelvey and Suso have all signed new long-term contracts and it's a clear indication of our intent to keep the players we believe are crucial to bringing success on the pitch.

'It also shows the belief the players have in the vision and leadership of Brendan Rodgers and everyone at this football club.'

Brendan Rodgers will not discuss Zenit St Petersburg fans

Rodgers refuses to be drawn on hellish trip to Zenit for Liverpool's black players

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 20 December 2012

Liverpool have been handed the Europa League trip from hell after being paired with Zenit St Petersburg in the round of 32.

A group of Zenit supporters sparked outrage this week when they published a manifesto calling for 'all non-European' and 'sexual minorities' to be 'barred from playing for the club'; Zenit remain the only Russian club never to have signed an African player.

The manifesto, which Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti quickly distanced himself from, also has a sinister sentence that declares that 'black players are being imposed on Zenit almost by force'. it prompted former Blackburn defender Christopher Samba to label Zenit fans 'racist'.

Steering clear: Brendan Rodgers had nothing to say about the manifesto produced by Zenit's fans

Steering clear: Brendan Rodgers had nothing to say about the manifesto produced by Zenit's fans

It promises to be an uncomfortable trip for Liverpool, who could travel with as many as five high-profile black players in their squad – Glen Johnson, Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom could yet be joined by January targets Tom Ince and Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers refused to discuss in detail the prospect of what might happen on the trip next February.

He said: ‘It is a good draw for us. We have had experience of playing in Russia (this season against Anzhi Makhachkala). I think it was important that we go there as group winners as it means we play the second leg at home. They are a good side and they have invested a lot of money in their team.’

When pressed about the publication of the manifesto, Rodgers replied: ‘I haven’ t given it any thought at this stage. I’ve got my own personal view but that’s for nearer the time. I’ve seen that come out but I’ve got nothing to say on it.’

Liverpool have only had two incidents of their players being racially abused in recent years. Emile Heskey was targeted in Kiev in 2002, while Djibril Cisse was abused three years later in Sofia during a Champions League qualifier.

When Gerard Houllier took Liverpool to face Spartak Moscow in October 2002, he said he would take his players off the pitch during the game if they were subjected to racist chanting but it passed without incident.

Rodgers, meanwhile, has challenged Raheem Sterling to show he will be worthy of another contract in five years’ time, as the England winger prepares to rubberstamp his protracted first major deal.

It is expected Liverpool will formally
announce Sterling has committed his future to the club in the next 24
hours. His representatives shook hands on a deal on Wednesday that will
see him earn around 30,000 per week for the next five years.

In action: Luis Suarez trains ahead of Liverpool's clash with Fulham

In action: Luis Suarez trains ahead of Liverpool's clash with Fulham

The most racist club in football

Zenit St Petersburg’s fans have one of the worst reputations for racism in world football. Here are some of the reasons why…

MARCH 2008
Olympique Marseille players complain of being racially abused after facing Zenit in a UEFA Cup tie. Before the final in Manchester, manager Dick Advocaat says: ‘I would be happy to sign anyone, but the fans don’t like black players.’

APRIL 2011
Zenit are fined $10,000 after one of their supporters offers Brazilian full back Roberto Carlos a banana before a Russian Premier League match against Anzhi Makhachkala.

DECEMBER 2012
Zenit fan club Landscrona writes in an open letter: ‘We’re not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition.’

Though Rodgers is thrilled that the business has reached a successful conclusion, he has made it clear that he will not tolerate Sterling sitting back and thinking he has done enough; Rodgers has pointed out that Sterling is not yet at senior level.

‘He hasn't joined those ranks, don't worry about that,’ said Rodgers. ‘He has been rewarded as a young player who, at 17 years of age, has come in and performed very well. He will never be elevated above his position here at the club.

‘There is a lot of development and a lot of nurturing to go yet, but he has been rightly rewarded and it is fantastic for the football club. If you play for a big club there is always going to be expectation. For young Raheem we need to help manage those expectations.

If you go into a lot of clubs as a young
player it is a nice little journey. If you go in at one of the biggest
clubs in the world it is magnified one million per cent. It is our job
to nurture him and educate him and there is still so much for him to
learn. He hasn't long left school.’

New deal: Youngster Raheem Sterling has agreed terms with the club

New deal: Youngster Raheem Sterling has agreed terms with the club

Rodgers added: ‘It is not only football education he needs but life education as well. We will support him in that and make sure the expectancy is at the correct level. I always congratulate players when they sign a new contract and then I warn them.

‘I tell them they need to decide after this contract whether there is going to be another contract at one of the biggest clubs in the world or whether it will be at a different level.’

Liverpool remain confident of completing a deal for Ince despite Blackpool saying they have rejected an offer from Anfield for the England Under-21 international.

Raheem Sterling agrees new Liverpool contract

Sterling work! Raheem agrees new and improved five-year contract at Anfield

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UPDATED:

22:01 GMT, 19 December 2012

England whizzkid Raheem Sterling has ended speculation regarding his future by agreeing a new contract with Liverpool.

The 18-year-old winger has been in negotiations with the Anfield club for weeks over a new deal.

And Sportsmail understands both parties have shaken hands on a deal for Sterling to stay with the Merseysiders for the next five years.

Sign of the times: Sterling has agreed the terms of a new deal at Liverpool

Sign of the times: Sterling has agreed the terms of a new deal at Liverpool

Sterling currently earns in the region of 2,000-per-week, but his new deal will net him a substantial pay increase.

The Jamaican-born forward has just 18 months left to run on his existing contract and ensuring the teenage sensation penned an extension was a top priority for the club.

And after several meetings between managing director Ian Ayre and Sterling's representatives the England international can now concentrate on establishing himself as a key member of Brendan Rodgers' plans.

A number of the Premier League's elite were lining up to take advantage of the uncertainty regarding Sterling's future next month.

Both Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea have watched Sterling extensively with a view to swooping for the forward in January.

Sterling, who started his career at Queens Park Rangers, has made rapid progress for Liverpool since breaking into the first team under Kenny Dalglish last season.

And his impressive breakthrough culminated in his first England cap, as he started in the defeat against Sweden last month.

However, he is still eligible to play for his native Jamaica given he has not played for the Three Lions in a competitive fixture yet.

Exciting duture: Sterling is at the heart of Rodgers future plans

Exciting duture: Sterling is at the heart of Rodgers future plans

Roy Hodgson says England needs to stop asking what has gone wrong and instead look to the future

Hodgson urges England to forget the failures since '66 and look to the future

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UPDATED:

16:38 GMT, 15 December 2012

Roy Hodgson cannot see the point in England handicapping themselves by constantly lamenting what has gone wrong since 1966.

After a solid start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, the Three Lions visit San Marino and Montenegro next March before an autumn push towards the World Cup in Brazil.

If England do achieve their first objective, Hodgson knows references to their sole World Cup win are bound to be raised, plus the inevitable debate about why progress has been so slow since that memorable occasion.

England boss Roy Hodgson says England need to stop lamenting past failures and focus on the present and future

England boss Roy Hodgson says England need to stop worrying about what has gone wrong since 1966 and focus on the present and future of the team

But England's coach feels that assessment is counter-productive.

'One of my concerns for England has always been that we're not trying to win in the present, we're trying to win in the past and we can't do that,' Hodgson told FATV.

'I know there's 1966 and that it's 50 years and that we've failed here and there and missed penalty shoot-outs, but unfortunately there's not very much I can do now to change anything that's historical.

England manager Roy Hodgson

'You can't turn back the clock and you can't win yesterday. You can only win today and while winning today, you can only have an eye on how we can win tomorrow.'

Hodgson cannot be faulted for the number of younger players he has introduced to the Three Lions fold since he took charge in May.

Raheem Sterling and Carl Jenkinson were amongst those to make their debuts in Sweden last month, whilst others, including Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were part of his Euro 2012 squad despite their limited experience.

With the exception of Sterling, none of that quartet could be regarded as first-choice for their clubs in a league where so many of its top men are foreign.

Hodgson sees little point arguing against the mass continental influx.

Instead he feels the onus is on those young English players to prove themselves indispensable.

'Clubs will do what they have to do and I can't expect that a manager who is under pressure to get results is thinking long-term for the benefits of the English national side,' he said.

'If he thinks his interests are best served by getting a player from Montenegro, Russia or Israel, they're entitled to do that.

'Rather than complain that there are a lot of foreign players, let's turn it on its head and make certain that our players do better.

'Take Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for example, who plays some games but not others. He has got to become so good that Arsene Wenger doesn't want to look elsewhere.

'That's what I've got to hope for and that's got to be their ambition.'

Challenge: Hodgson has said that players like Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (pictured) have to 'become so good that Arsene Wenger doesn't want to look elsewhere'

Challenge: Hodgson said that players like Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (pictured) have to be 'so good that Arsene Wenger doesn't want to look elsewhere'

Manchester United and Arsenal want Raheem Sterling

United and Arsenal prepare 15m bids for contract rebel Sterling

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UPDATED:

09:19 GMT, 15 December 2012

Arsenal and Manchester United have joined the race for Liverpool's contract rebel Raheem Sterling.

The 18-year-old has yet to pen a new deal at Anfield after impressing in the opening months of the season.

And that has alerted United and Arsenal, according to The Sun while Manchester City are also in the frame should Sterling decide to leave Liverpool.

Wanted: Raheem Sterling has attracted interest from several clubs

Wanted: Raheem Sterling has attracted interest from several clubs

Brendan Rodgers admitted yesterday that talks have not moved on with the player's advisors.

Sterling, who is valued at 15million, has become a first-team regular at Anfield and also made his England debut against Sweden but could yet choose to represent Jamaica, the country of his birth.

Were he to move to Old Trafford, he would become the first player to move from Liverpool since Phil Chisnall nearly 50 years ago.

Former United winger Willie Morgan told Sir Alex Ferguson earlier this week to sign Sterling.

Concerns: Brendan Rodgers admitted Sterling has yet to sign a new deal

Concerns: Brendan Rodgers admitted Sterling has yet to sign a new deal

Morgan, a former Scotland international who made 236 appearances for United between 1968 and 1975, told the Manchester Evening News: ‘I think United should attempt to buy Liverpool’s left winger Raheem Sterling.

‘Sterling
is the first winger I have seen in a long time who looks like a proper
winger. He looks very good already and I think he is going to be great.

‘If
you just let him go wide on the outside of the full-backs all the time I
think he will be a great player. He’ll frighten people to death, so
long as nobody coaches it out of him. He’s the brightest prospect out
there and would suit United.’

Tottenham"s Jan Vertonghen snubbed Arsenal after Arsene Wenger planned to play him in midfield

Spurs defender Vertonghen reveals he snubbed Arsenal after Wenger planned to play him in MIDFIELD

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UPDATED:

18:35 GMT, 13 December 2012

Jan Vertonghen turned down a move to Arsenal after hearing that Arsene Wenger wanted to deploy him in midfield, the Tottenham player has revealed.

Vertonghen joined Spurs from Ajax this summer and has gone on to become a fans' favourite after a series of excellent displays for Andre Villas-Boas' team.

The Belgian started his White Hart Lane career as a centre-back but soon moved over to left-back – the position he plays in for his country – after an injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Versatile: Jan Vertonghen has been deployed at left back, although the Belgian sees himself as a centre half

Versatile: Jan Vertonghen has been deployed at left back, although the Belgian sees himself as a centre half

Gunners manager Wenger, who is under pressure after Arsenal's poor start to the campaign, was interested in signing Vertonghen, but the 25-year-old instead opted to move to the Gunners' north London rivals after it became clear that the Frenchman wanted him to play in midfield.

'(Arsenal's interest) was concrete, but they wanted me to be a controller in the midfield, an Emmanuel Petit-type,' Vertonghen told Dutch website NUsport.

'I'm not afraid of competition, but the overall picture of Spurs appealed to me more.'

Spurs manager Villas-Boas initially moved Gareth Bale to left-back following Assou-Ekotto's injury, but Vertonghen has been a more effective solution during the Cameroonian's absence.

With Assou-Ekotto now back in full training following his three-month lay-off, Vertonghen looks set to return to the heart of the defence, much to his delight.

He added: 'Ultimately, I just came to play at centre back. Gareth Bale had to play left back, but it did not work so he pushed forward and I moved to full-back.

'I see myself still as a centre-back. I'm not agile enough to play against players like Nani and (Raheem) Sterling.'

Slipping through the net: Damien Duff eludes Vertonghen

Slipping through the net: Damien Duff eludes Vertonghen

Villas-Boas, meanwhile, says any new recruits he adds in January must subscribe to his and Tottenham's attacking philosophy.

Speaking in a question and answer session on Twitter, the Portuguese, who has been linked with moves for Joao Moutinho, Fernando Llorente and Willian, said: 'The players we are trying to bring in and have here also embrace that philosophy which we want to carry into the future.

'(Being at Spurs) is great because of the philosophy of the club want to implement, what I think about football and the way we should play. I think we should have a go, play well and be open.'

Despite last weekend's defeat at Everton, Villas-Boas' team go in to Sunday's game against Swansea in fifth place, just three points behind Chelsea.

The 35-year-old, who lasted just under nine months in charge at Stamford Bridge, has been pleased by his start to life at White Hart Lane.

He said: 'I have encountered a tremendous group of people, staff & players. (It was) important to get (a) positive response, which we have had since we arrived.

'It has been an exciting five months and we hope we can keep doing well in order to repay the confidence given to us from the beginning.'

Wycombe, meanwhile, have announced that Spurs goalkeeper Jordan Archer has extended his loan spell with the npower League Two side until the end of the season.