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Spurs star: This proves I can fill Adebayor’s boots

Clint Dempsey celebrates at the final whistle following his late equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at White Hart Lane. Clint Dempsey celebrates at the final whistle following his late equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at White Hart Lane.

Monday, January 21, 2013
11:59 AM

Clint Dempsey believes his latest goal in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United proves that Tottenham have competition up front and can cope without Emmanuel Adebayor.

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Adebayor’s departure to the Africa Cup of Nations has left Jermain Defoe as the only recognised forward at the club, highlighting a lack of striking options at White Hart Lane.

However, Andre Villas-Boas has always maintained that Dempsey is a viable option – and the American repaid that faith on Sunday with a last-gasp equaliser against Sir Alex Ferguson’s league leaders.

It was the 29-year-old’s fourth goal in his last four appearances, taking his tally to seven for the season – and he insists that he is fully capable of filling Adebayor’s boots.

“Ade is a great player and he is going to be missed, but there is competition,” said Dempsey. “I can play that position. When the ball is coming up, I can just hold the play up.

“I’m also happy being a little bit withdrawn - getting the ball in the pocket, getting on the half turn and pressing in a 4-4-2 system – and defensively I feel comfortable dropping back and putting in a shift to get on their holding midfield player and trying to create problems for them.

“It’s a position I feel comfortable in, a position I have played mostly this season and I feel like I am starting to feel more comfortable in that position.

“Now it’s just about trying to create more chances in the attacking third, whether it’s getting goals or getting assists, and I feel like I have been on a good run of form.

“For me, it was a slow start to the season so it’s good to be chipping in with goals now and repaying the club for their belief in me.

“Before this season I hadn’t scored against Man United so it’s been good to get two goals against them.

“We have got four points against them this season so that’s a good return, and we are still in fourth and the goal for the season is to qualify for the Champions League.”

Dempsey is likely to partner Defoe again when Spurs travel to Leeds in the FA Cup on Sunday, and he feels their relationship is improving.

“He [Defoe] is a great player, one of the best at being in a tight space and being able to create a chance for himself,” said Dempsey. “Playing alongside him, all you have to do is play the ball in his direction and he can create something special.

“It’s good to be playing with top players, that’s what it’s all about - trying to figure out how you can help to score goals and also at the same time get in positions to get goals yourself.

“It’s just about never giving up on the play and always thinking that it can come to you, and when it does it’s all about staying calm and putting it on goal. Any time you put it on goal there is always a chance of scoring, and I was able to get one this time.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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Tottenham Hotspur

Nickname: The Lilywhites.

Ground: White Hart Lane (capacity 36,310).

Founded: 1882.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1951, 1961

Second Division: 1920, 1950.

Southern League: 1900.

FA Cup: 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991.

League Cup: 1971, 1973, 1999, 2008.

Uefa Cup: 1972, 1984.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1963.

Leading goalscorers: Jimmy Greaves, 379.

Leading appearances: Steve Perryman, 854.