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18. On how to make a good impression, at his first press conference as a Spurs player: “Maybe I can ask you the first question. Are there any diving schools in London?”

17. On how he decided to move to White Hart Lane: “At first I considered going back to Italy. Then I was thinking more and more about Tottenham – a large and prestigious club.”

16. On mid-nineties footballers’ diets: “Gary Mabbutt, Teddy Sheringham, Colin Calderwood, I had a whole group of guys who showed me ‘this is how things work here’. Fish and chips. We go down the street, to a cafe and we figure it out. This is how it works in London, the rivalries, the Premier League, life off the field.”

15. On being good in a shoot-out: “We Germans are so good at penalties because we have had to rebuild our country twice.”

14. On being a German player at a club with many Jewish fans: “I had no knowledge about the club’s fanbase and I didn’t know how the fans would react. My belief was that sport connects people, and that the people of London would realise, of course, that my generation had absolutely nothing to do with the events of 60, 70 years before, although it is a generation that knows we must never forget those lessons.”

13. On his time in Serie A: “In my time the biggest league was Italy, all the big shots came to Italy – Maradona, Careca, Gullit, Van Basten, Matthäus. We were all driven to go to Italy, that’s where the music is played.”

12. On Ossie’s ‘Famous Five’: “It was not ridiculous at all playing with these five attacking players. I had a lot of fun and I still think that had we been more consistent defensively, and not made so many individual mistakes at the back, we could have played that system.”

11. On becoming the FWA Player of the Year: “For me it was a wonderful achievement and it was a wonderful award, because I knew that, besides how I was seen in the beginning, it was something outstanding for a foreign player to become English Footballer of the Year.”

10. On Harry Kane: “I’m simply amazed how consistent Harry, at still such a young age, performs week in week out. His composure with the ball, his vision for his team mates, his decision-making, is almost always spot on.”

9. On the advantages of being multi-lingual: “I do swear a lot, but the advantage is that having played abroad, I can choose a different language from the referee’s.”

8. On Christian Gross: “Christian was one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. I just think at that time the tension was so big and the situation was so difficult that nobody could really relax within the environment at Spurs.”

7. On his FA Cup performance at Anfield: “At the end, even some of the Liverpool fans stayed to applaud. One of the reasons I had come to England was the passion of the crowds that I saw on German TV, watching the big Liverpool teams of the 1970s.”

6. On Alan Sugar angrily claiming that he wouldn’t wash his car with his shirt: “The intensity and passion of the English game makes you act like little kids sometimes.”

5. On life in London: “There are so many cultures living next door to one another. You have a rich suburb next to a poor suburb, you have an African culture in one place living next to an English culture, say. Every area has its own park. In Stuttgart and in Milan, the culture was uniform and very much of that country. London was a truly international city and it raised the bar for me. It’s one of the great cities of the world.”

4. On possibly returning to Spurs as manager: “I don’t know. Right now I see me hopefully doing a good job for the US. You never know what you are going to do five, 10 years down the road.”

3. On old-school English bonding sessions: “Ossie came in the dressing room after the game and handed us £20 or £30 each. He just said: ‘Have a good time.’ So we all went to the pub. That was wonderful, the simplicity of getting together, getting us working as hard as we could and enjoying the company of everyone.”

2. On his famous celebration to his debut Tottenham goal: “Sheringham had the idea. He said: ‘If you score today, we’ll all dive.’ The wonderful thing was that the rival fans even laughed about it.”

1. On the best supporters in the world: “The team means so much to them. No matter where you go you always find Spurs fans.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. What a star.
    Fantastic player
    Great attitude.
    We’ve had some wonderful players but often because of financial situation we only had one or two mixed in with average.
    Burkinshaw had some very special talents in forward and midfield positions but the defence were not on the same level.

  2. Awesome player and I would very much like to thank you for all the efforts you gave week in / week out for my spurs team!

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