Dembele names three Tottenham fringe players as good as the first-team regulars
By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Mousa Dembele has claimed that Tottenham are so well drilled that the fringe players could replace the first-team regulars and there would be little noticeable difference.
The Spurs midfielder has been one of the outstanding players in his position in the Premier League this season and has been hailed as a potential £40million player by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp.
But the Belgium international believes his qualities have been highlighted by the effectiveness of the team and the foundations put in place by manager Mauricio Pochettino and his staff.
“It’s just easier to come into the team because there is a philosophy,” Dembele said, as quoted in the Guardian. “Eric Dier is playing unbelievably and Dele [Alli], too. They are amazing players but we also have Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Tom Carroll.
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“Whoever plays, there is a certain structure so the team is not collapsing because of one or two players.”
Spurs are second in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s must-win clash against Manchester United at White Hart Lane.
By the time of the 4pm kick-off, Pochettinos’ team could be 10 points adrift of the leaders if Leicester secure all three points on their visit to Sunderland earlier in the day.
Dembele gave some insight into the Pochettino ethos that has driven Spurs to greater heights than at any time in the Premier League era.
“If you don’t fit into the team, it’s going to be difficult for you,” Dembele told the Guardian. “If he explains that he expects this and this from a player – for example, he wants a midfielder to press and come back, press and come back – and you are not willing to do it, then you don’t fit into the philosophy. So, I have the feeling that anybody can come into the team and anybody can come out, almost.
“Everybody knows that they can be the best player in the team but if they don’t work, then it’s not going to be good enough. We don’t have superstars.
“Of course, we have players who can make the difference, like Harry Kane, but even Harry knows: ‘OK, I need to work.’ And you see it. I don’t know another striker who works harder than Harry. This puts him on another level to most other strikers.”
In other Tottenham news, former manager Tim Sherwood has revealed who he wanted to succeed him at White Hart Lane.