By Danny Wright
Former Tottenham defender Steven Caulker has revealed that he deeply regrets the attitude he showcased ahead of his White Hart Lane exit in 2013.
He was considered as a rising star in the Spurs academy, making his debut for the North London club at the age of 19 and earning an international debut with England in the same year.
Now aged 25, Caulker has opened up about a blazing row with chairman Daniel Levy after he was approached about his problems with gambling and drinking.
Caulker, who made a total of 29 appearances for Spurs, was shipped to Cardiff in a deal worth £8million after his fall-out with Levy but four years on from the heated exchange, he has admitted that he should have reacted differently.
“The gambling was every single day. The pain of losing all my money, combined with the shame and guilt, ate away at me. So I’d drink myself into oblivion so I wouldn’t have to feel anything. I was numb but I was out of control,” Caulker told the Guardian.
“He [Levy] just said: ‘The way you act is unbelievable. You either sort yourself out or go but I can assure you, if you leave, you’ll be going down, not up.’ I was young, stupid. I took it as a challenge, a chance to prove him wrong. I was so immature.”
“So I went to Cardiff and, for six months, everything was amazing. I was captain, the manager, Malky Mackay, knew I had some issues but offered to be there for me. I felt wanted, so there was no gambling, no heavy binges but the second he was sacked, all the demons came back. That’s all it took. Even before we played the next game, I’d convinced myself nothing would be the same. That’s the kind of catastrophic thinking I’ve had to address.”
Since leaving Spurs, Caulker’s career failed to take off and after looking like a promising talent in North London, he has had to spend much of his time plying his trade in the Championship with QPR.
During his stay at Loftus Road, the centre-back has been handed the chance of playing back in the top-flight with Liverpool and Southampton, but loan stints at both clubs proved fruitless as he made just 12 appearances with them.
Caulker made just 14 appearances in all competitions for the West London club last season as he has been sidelined since October with a serious hip injury.
In other Tottenham news, one of Spurs’ London rivals is set to battle them for this Eredivise star.