Tottenham vs Ajax: Jan Vertonghen claims he ‘had doubts’ about moving to Dutch giants as a 16-year-old
Jan Vertonghen has revealed he ‘had doubts’ about joining Ajax as a youngster ahead of Tottenham’s Champions League semi-final against the Dutch giants.
Spurs will reach their first ever final of Europe’s premier cup competition if they get past Ajax, who are competing in their first Champions League semi-final since 1997.
The first leg is at Tottenham’s new stadium on Tuesday night and the second leg in Amsterdam on May 8th will mark a return to the club for Vertonghen as well as Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen and Davinson Sanchez.
Belgian Vertonghen moved to England in 2012 but revealed how it all could have been so much different as he was unsure about joining Ajax’s academy as a 16-year-old when he was at Germinal Beerschot in Antwerp.
The 32-year-old recalled: “I had doubts because I don’t like moving. I remember my old coach told me, ‘Jan, just go. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back here.’
“I always remember these words.”
“I’m pleased I did go because Ajax is the best academy in the world.”
Vertonghen won two Eredivisie titles and two Dutch cups before signing for Spurs for £12million and will be fit to play his previous employers after missing Spurs’ defeat at home to West Ham on Saturday.
Ajax promise to be stern opponents for Spurs, having beaten Real Madrid and Juventus on route to the semis.
And Vertonghen claimed their incredible path to the last four is primarily due to the outstanding work going on at their legendary academy.
He added: “Ajax are playing at an unbelievable level. You don’t expect teams, apart from the big countries, to do this.
“They have shown the way to do it. They are always a step ahead of everyone else. I’m happy it pays off.
“They just prepare everyone for the highest level. Then the kids that come on, because they are still kids when they’re making their debuts at 17, 18 and 19, they are ready.
“They are hungry. They are ready. They are fearless. They feel the support from the academy and they’ve got confidence in their qualities.
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“That’s just what they do. Always, when you’re six or seven years old, you start and you’re told you’re in the best team in the league. Always.
“And that you have to dominate away from home. A draw is never enough.
“A win is never enough.
“You always have to win in a certain way. That’s what we’re seeing right now.”
Source: SportsLatest TS