Open Praise For Tottenham’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto

By on October 30, 2011

‘Don’t cha wish you’re left back was B-A-E’ should be echoed around White Hart Lane until the Cameroonian international retires from football. Admittedly, I got this from Dear Mr Levy (thanks Spooky) but, I wonder how many teams and fans wish they had a player like Benoit Assou-Ekotto?

The former Lens full-back, bought to Spurs by then Sporting Director Damien Comilli during Martin Jol’s stint as head-coach, admitted almost two-years ago that he only plays football because he happens to be good at it and it gets him a lot of money, before continuing that his real passion is music. Many cried out mercenary at a player who doesn’t list the worlds biggest sport as one of his passions and that he is only in it for the paycheque but, his honesty is a real breath of fresh air.

In the same Guardian interview with David Hytner, Assou-Ekotto confesses that, while he doesn’t hate football, it isn’t his favoured subjects which lay elsewhere. He gives 100% during his shift but around his hours, the Spurs man admitted he owns an oyster card and enjoys to travel around London in his spare time, playing the tourist in a city he had moved to only three years prior to the 2010 interview.

His outspokenness could be considered rude, and perhaps un-called for by some, but in today’s football world, it is a pleasure to listen to a player speak the truth rather than what any fan wants to hear about his or her team. While some professionals will talk about it being an honour to play for a certain club, Assou-Ekotto just looks at football as another job, and one where the pay-packet is enough for him to live a life of luxury. He admits that Gervais Martel, president of former club Lens, criticised him when he moved to Tottenham, citing money as his motive on leaving the French side, a motive the player admits is true. Let’s face it, if one business offers you X amount to work for them but another business offers you substantially more money, you’re going to choose the latter business to work for.

Yet, it all could have been so much different for the Cameroon international. Not long after joining Spurs, he suffered a serious knee injury that genuinely put his career in jeopardy. Before Redknapp came in, he was considering leaving the club especially with Juande Ramos at the helm, where he didn’t even get a chance to showcase his ability. Redknapp, however, persisted with the full-back and his career has really flourished in the past 24 months. Now considered one of the best left-backs in the Premierhip, the Spurs manager admits he is up there with Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra as the leagues finest, it is hardly surprising that he won the Spur of the Year last year.

The silly errors he used to make when he was younger due to a lack of concentration have been cut down to a minimum, although he is prone to the odd lapse of judgement, while his passing, stamina, pace and crossing ability is all that of any top drawer left-back. Many now consider the full-back to be one of the first-names on the team-sheet, such is how highly regarded he is at White Hart Lane. And while Danny Rose has told him that he wants to make the left-back position his own, the young England man is going to find it hard to dislodge Assou-Ekotto for a starting spot in the foreseeable future.

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