Spurs fans and players anticipate a cracking game

  • The Gaffer
  • Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Striker Harry Kane leads from the front as Spurs players take to the pitch for a training session. - Bernama

THEY are finally here!

There was controversy even before the first ball was kicked. Some even called it a "circus match" but Spurs players have vowed to give it their 100%.

As an Arsenal fan, covering Tottenham Hotspur's AIA cup Asia Tour was kind of awkward. During North London derby matches, I use to taunt them a little but all that changed when I saw Harry Kane.

He scored two goals against Arsenal this year at White Hart Lane as Spurs beat the Gunners in the Barclays Premier League. He was clinical and showed what home-grown Spurs players are capable of doing.

Meeting him today was an honour. He seemed to be a down-to-earth guy who plays the game with much love.

"How are you mate? All good. The weather here is hot but I am here to play and win this match," said Kane.

Ultras Malaya deemed the game a "circus match" but Kane and Danish wizard Christian Eriksen promised that this match would be a tight affair.

Both have impressed this season and with players like Ryan Mason, Danny Rose and Hugo Lloris, they finished the season fifth and in the process qualifying for the Europa League.

Eriksen was one of the most hardworking players in the Premier League, covering 395km in total throughout the season.

"I love the game and I always keep on running and put in 100% every match. If I stop running, that is the day I stop football.

"The fans are here to see us and we will give them a treat. Tottenham is well-loved in this part of region and we want to beat Malaysia tomorrow," said the 23-year-old player, who has completed his second season with Spurs.

Kane said he was happy with his form and wanted to improve further, help Spurs finish in the top four and be a regular in the England set-up.

"Under Mauricio Pochettino, the team's fitness has improved and you can see it in our games. My goalscoring form was because of my teammates.

"They performed well and made sure I got the goals. Next season, I am looking to improve further," said Kane.

The top-scoring striker said the weather was hot and humid but he was looking forward to the match against the Malaysians.

"Really excited. It is going to be a tough game but we are going there to win it.

"It is a great opportunity for the fans to come and watch the match. I am hoping for a good turnout and everyone enjoys it," said Kane, who scored 21 goals in the Premier League this season.

Crediting his coaches and teammates for his success, many are afraid that he might be burnt out before the season starts but Kane promised that his national U-21 duties will not affect his fitness.

Spurs fans only want to see their idols give their best and entertain the Shah Alam crowd this Wednesday.

System engineer Macray Joseph Perrerra, 27, said he only started to watch and play football in 2008 and at the time, was captivated by the abilities of Jermain Defoe and Niko Kranjcar, both of whom played for Spurs at the time.

"They played an exciting brand of football and I loved it. This season, Mauricio Pochettino brought in young players and I am particularly impressed with Ryan Mason and Harry Kane," said the Sarawakian, who arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

When asked about Ultras Malaya's thoughts on the match, Perrera said it was a just a friendly game, meant to entertain Spurs fans in this region.

"Many Malaysians are not able to go to London to watch a Spurs match. So it is nice of them to come down and play a friendly match.

"Some of us have to change our mindset. They are here to entertain the fans and at the same time, playing against players like Christian Eriksen and Kane will surely give our national team some top-class international exposure," said Perrera.

Bangkok-based Jason McGovern, 47, said the first time he watched Spurs was in 1974 with his father at White Hart Lane.

"My whole family supports Spurs. My all-time favourite is player is Diego Maradona, who played one game for Spurs. Others were Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles and now my favourite player is Hugo Lloris.

"Whenever a Premier League team comes down to Asia, it is part of a commercial tour. That is the reality. I still think the national team will benefit from it," he said.

As a football fan, I am expecting this to be an open affair and fans will surely be entertained by the match. Malaysia have promised to play a high pressing game against the Premier League side and the five foreign players, especially Maldivian Ali Ashfaq, will be key for Malaysia XI.

Based on the two training sessions I have watched, Spurs were technically sound and the players were at ease on the Shah Alam Stadium pitch.

As for the Malaysians, they looked lively but the technique was not there to be seen. They will surely rely on Ali, Brazilian Paulo Rangel and Australian Robbie Cornthwaite.

The echoes of "circus match" will be there but if I were Dollah Salleh, I would tell my players to learn from these players and maybe even shock them. If they defeat Spurs, Malaysians will surely be talking about the Malaysia XI for the next few weeks.

McGovern, who has lived in Bangkok for nine years said that If Tottenham play properly, they can win the match but said; "If they are on holiday mode, they might lose the game".

With this in mind and weather on our side, let's hope the Tigers will shock the Spurs and maybe even impress Pochettino.

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