Spurs defender reflects on a tough Premier League debut and ‘a dream come true’

10:00 27 August 2012

Jan Vertonghen.

Jan Vertonghen.

EMPICS Sport

Jan Vertonghen says it is much harder to bank three points at home in the Premier League than it is in Holland – and that is exactly why he has come to England.

The 25-year-old joined Tottenham from Ajax during the summer and, having watched the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle from the bench, made his debut in front of the home crowd at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The Belgian defender was far from happy with the result but he enjoyed the occasion – and he says the difficulty of winning games in the Premier League is precisely what attracted him to play in England’s top flight.

“I’m glad I made my home debut, “said Vertonghen. “The atmosphere was amazing and the lads helped me through this game – it’s a steady improvement.

“I did a few good things and a few bad things, but we cannot be happy with the result. I think we had to win that game. We have a very good team and we have been a bit unlucky. I think last week we deserved the draw and this time we deserved the win.

“It’s a lot harder to win home games here than in Holland, for sure. In Holland we would win this game - not against West Brom but against a different opponent.

“West Brom are stronger than the average team in Holland. They kept on coming and shooting, and the challenge of [Romelu] Lukaku was very strong at the end. When you’re tired they keep dropping off their players and it’s tough.

“But that’s the Premier League. Games are difficult, you have to fight until the 96th minute and keep your concentration. That’s why I came here – it’s the best competition in the world and that’s where I want to play. I want to play at the highest level.

“Now we have a home game again next Saturday, against Norwich, so we have to take that game and four points will help us this season.

“I think last season they [Tottenham] had a very difficult start also. They started with zero points after two games - so we’re doing better than last season!”

Vertonghen had an eventful debut, firing over the bar from a good position in the first half and then seeing an injury-time winning goal ruled out because William Gallas was offside.

The centre-back has developed a reputation for contributing goals as well as solid defensive performances, having scored eight times in 39 games for Ajax last season – and he is keen to get into a similar habit in north London.

“I think it was offside - I hope it was offside because otherwise it’s a frustrating game!” said Vertonghen. “I like to get forward and score – also with my head. I had a good understanding with Jake [Livermore] and Sandro to do it [attack] and I think the manager wants me to do it too, so sometimes I can.

“In the second half the opponents tried to keep me at the back, but in the first half I had that good chance from a cross from Gareth Bale.

“The second half was a bit more difficult. They kept the midfield in front of me but I hope I can score in the next game, soon.

“First I need a rest but I’m looking forward to my next game. I hope I play. It’s amazing to play in the Premier League right now – it’s a dream come true. I hope I play a lot more games.”

Having been omitted from the starting line-up at Newcastle, Vertonghen is aware that he faces stiff competition for places in the Tottenham rearguard, but he enjoyed his partnership with Gallas on Saturday.

“Did I expect to start so early in my Spurs career? I hoped I would be starting last week!” he said. “I know Younes has a little injury. I hope I start every game, it doesn’t matter when. I want to play every game – that’s how I am.

“It was the first time I’d played with William in an official game, so I think we did okay. We need to adapt to how the other plays. We talk a lot and speak the same language, and we try to do as well as possible.”

Vertonghen’s attempts to bond with his new team-mates included an initiation involving a rendition of The Beatles’ song ‘Yellow Submarine’ during the pre-season tour of America.

“I will not perform it here, I’m not in the mood now,” he told journalists. “I could have sung a Belgian song but I thought ‘I’m here in England now so I’ll do an English song’. It went okay. I’m not really a Beatles fan, it was the first song that came up in my mind. There was applause, I think it was okay.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Tottenham news

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Dele Alli wheels away after scoring the opening goal

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has admitted Dele Alli cannot afford a repeat of his West Brom outburst and says the Tottenham man must ‘keep a lid on that kind of behaviour.’

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Dele Alli

Dele Alli may not play again until England’s friendly against Turkey in just under four weeks time if he is decides against appealing his expected violent conduct charge from the Football Association.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Heung-Min Son was only introduced in the 85th minute as Tottenham dropped two crucial points at home against West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane on Monday

Tottenham blogger George Lacey feels that, while Spurs have exceeded all expectations this season, the lack of a plan B was evident in Monday’s costly draw against West Bromwich Albion.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Roberto Soldado reacts after missing a chance (Nick Potts)

Roberto Soldado admits what let him down at Tottenham, after two seasons at the club, was his head ‘for whatever reason, wasn’t right’.

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more
Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Quizzes

Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp celebrate (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

They tore defences apart throughout the 1990s and 2000s but how quickly can you match up eight classic Premier League strike pairs from years gone by?

Who will you choose?

Find out with our quiz - based on policies, not people.

Latest Tech News

Transport