Last Updated: 14 June 2023, Author: AceOdds.com
Straight off the heels of our interview with Glen Johnson, we now speak with another former England player, Darren Anderton. Find out his thoughts on the season so far for his former club Spurs and what really happened when Alan Sugar heard of the interest in Darren from Manchester United.
Yeah, obviously, I think so. I think it goes without saying that my injuries were highlighted by the media and everything else.
And during, I would say, probably my peak years when I'm in the England team and World Cups and Euro 96, I had injuries leading up to both tournaments. So of course, it was always mentioned back in those days. Unfortunately, that's kind of stuck with me. Whenever I do anything these days, it always comes up.
But I know that I played a hell of a lot of games that we're very proud of and injuries are all part of the game. I think we see that now with much bigger squads, much better medical care and diagnosis and rehab of injuries.
It's an unfortunate part of the game and where I was at certain times in my career, I definitely didn't get the right advice in order to get myself back on the pitch as soon as possible.
I would say, of course they should. He's been an unbelievable servant to the club. I don't want him to leave. I think that it's something that people will always throw at him.
I think he's such a loyal person and human being. It would be a real wrench for him to leave the club. But I think that there comes a point where, why would he not want to move on and win things if he doesn't feel it's attainable at Tottenham?
And I'd say since Poch has gone, it's been two or three very disappointing years where we haven't really looked like winning anything.
So, fingers crossed, appoint the right man, a man that Harry believes in and believes that can possibly win trophies at the club. But if not, and he decides that maybe he does want to move on, I think the fans have got to be fair with him for everything that he's given the club.
I think they got a lot of power, no doubt about it. Feels like contracts almost don't mean anything. Players want to move on and off they go.
You have to say with Tottenham, with Harry, when he wanted to move on a couple of years ago, Daniel Levy stuck by his guns and didn't let it happen because he was under contract. I think that's the football club's right.
I mean, if you want to sign a long contract, then that's what you should feel may happen, even if you do become unhappy at certain points.
So my relationship was pretty good, I think. I think that it's obvious I had the opportunity to move on to other clubs based on a clause of my contract, that if someone offered a certain fee, then I was free to go.
And that did happen, especially the summer of '95 after what was the Umbro cup. Manchester United and Blackburn, who had just won the Premier League, were interested and Manchester United were definitely willing to pay what was above the clause.
Sir Alan Sugar made it very clear that he didn't want me to move on. Then Gerry Francis, the manager as well, Jurgen Klinsmann had just left that summer. Nicky Barmby was homesick. I think that Jerry more or less said that "if Darren goes, and I'll have to look at my position".
So to be fair to the chairman, he did everything in his power to get me to sign a new contract, remove the clause and I was very happy at the club.
I did speak to Sir Alex, said that if it was to happen I was more than happy to come and have a chat. I went to the chairman's house and he didn't let me leave without signing a new deal.
So I never went up to United and had a look around. But it's something that I look at now, especially in Harry's situation, the fact that if I did move on, I would have won a lot of trophies and medals and everything else, and that's what it's all about at the end of the day.
But I guess it was something I thought the makeup that possibly would come back. I was 23, I was playing the football of my life, I was in the England team, Euro 96 was coming up. United got rid of Ince and Hughes. We didn't know what was coming through as Alan Hansen famously said.
So it's something that does make me laugh about a little bit at times, but I'm also a very loyal person. I'm happy that I made a decision that I did. If it was thrown at me with the same situation, I would have done the same thing again.
Who knows? Maybe if they wanted him and thought that was an option.
Now that Chelsea are in the market looking for a manager, that makes that more difficult and gives him probably a stronger bargaining position if he does have a couple of clubs that want him, we will see.
Obviously, Spurs have made a decision that nothing's going to happen until the summer anyway, so another hugely important decision for the club to make because we need to start making strides forward. So let's see what happens.
There's managers out there that hopefully are available. Pochettino is still available, which would be my choice all day long. To think where the club is now from the day he left is disappointing.
I quite like Brendan Rodgers. I think when he's given top, top players. I mean, what he did at Liverpool I thought was so unlucky to not win the Premier League there.
I think the fact that he plays a brand of football that Tottenham fans want to see, I think that fair to say. I think since Poch, with Mourinho and Conte, the football has been dour at times.
I think we've got some wonderful footballers, but two very defensive managers that have certainly made for some very dull afternoons at White Hart Lane. So I think that comes into it.
I feel like he plays a brand of football that is the Tottenham way and I think that would work. As I said, Pochettino for me.
But another one I think they missed the boat on was Eddie Howe. I think that Eddie, who of course I know from my time at Bournemouth, has done miracles down there and now I think he's probably getting the credit he deserves from everyone within the country.
What an amazing coach and manager he is. He's obviously very happy up there at the moment, but that's why I feel like the club missed out on him.
Who knows? Fans want winning football, to be successful and when a new manager comes in, fans always give them a chance.
I was there when George Graham came in and that was never going to work because of the Arsenal connection. Long-term, I would say. But it was the most successful period I had there during my career. Where we won the Worthington Cup, we were in a couple of FA Cup semifinals, George was a winner and that's all that we want.
And I think that when Mourinho and Conte came in, they both were proven winners. I think there was always a worry that the football might not be as fans would like to see and be entertained, but if you're winning and winning trophies, then you're okay with that.
But if you don't win football matches, you don't win trophies, and the football is defensive and dour, then of course, fans aren't going to be happy.
I think it will tempt him for sure, but there's no guarantee if he goes to Manchester United, he's going to win trophies.
I feel like the only club that you can go to that can almost guarantee it is Manchester City at the moment, the way that they've gone over the last decade.
But Harry Kane in Manchester United's team, I think is a very good fit chance of winning trophies. So I think it suits both parties, probably, that that would be a very good move for him.
So, yeah, I think he'll be tempted. I think it's behind the scenes, I'm sure he'll be speaking to the chairman and not just about his own situation, but who they're looking to get in to be manager.
I feel like his contract runs out next season. I feel like this is his big, big contract, his last huge decision for him, but I'm not surprised he hasn't committed to anything yet.
There's a little bit of everything, I feel. I think there's from higher up, I feel like there's a little bit of negativity towards Daniel and the board, from fans, from afar, from media, which brings its own negativity and that's not ideal.
I think the managers, the last two managers have been disappointing. I feel like we've got great players, a good squad. I think defensively we need to be possibly better than we look right now. But when you look at that front three that we can play.
And over the last 5/10 years, we've been excited. The exciting players that we've had, we should have won something. So I think it does come down to the manager at the end of the day to get us over the line.
I think if you look at with Conte, the decision to play at Sheffield United and not play Harry and not play a strongest team, which is a huge opportunity to win the trophy, the FA Cup, probably the best opportunity the club had, is disappointing. That has to come down, go down to the manager, in my eyes.
Yes, the players were awful at night. Yes, a second-string Spurs should be Sheffield United, in my opinion. But I feel like it just sent out the wrong signal to the players, sent out a great signal to Sheffield United because they felt like Spurs felt like they didn't need to play their best thing to beat them. So for me, that was disappointing.
So I think those sort of things, big moments that you have to win trophies, there are so many big games, the manager's mentality has got to be spot on. So I did feel like that's what it boils down to at the end of the day for me.
Yes, I do. It's always a game that I look forward to watching.
Tottenham is my club that I played basically my whole career at.
Bournemouth, I had so many good times down there. Still have a home there, still have friends. I was back a couple of weekends ago for a Portsmouth youth team reunion. So I was able to go and have lunch with a few of the old Bournemouth boys who are on the coaching staff now, so they feel they got a real chance of still surviving.
I think that they know what's around them, they're playing all those teams. They know Spurs will be a tough game to go and play, but Tottenham are not consistent at the moment, it seems, just in terms of their performances.
And it's a game that Tottenham should win if they perform as they do. But Bournemouth will go into it with every hope of nicking something from the game. There's no doubt about it. And, of course, they can. There's no doubt about it.
I think it was disappointing.
I've already said earlier, but the Sheffield United game for me, kind of summed it up. Followed with maybe the AC Milan game at home where it was dour. Why wasn't there any desperation to try and score a goal, to get back into the game, to create an atmosphere within the stadium, give the fans something to shout about?
And I feel like that kind of sums up the reign there. While he was there.
The football was not exciting, not great to watch, and at the end of the day, we didn't look like winning anything. So for someone who is a winner, I feel like his time there was very disappointing.
It's a difficult one. I just feel like defensively, I feel like we need a top world-class centre-back.
I'm always a little bit worried when watching. Mistakes are there or rash challenges from Romero or something like that. I think that you don't feel safe watching. You feel like there's always a mistake coming and that's not ideal, especially the way teams play now. They all want to play out from the back.
I just feel like there's been a lot of goals that could have been stopped and that's frustrating to watch sometimes and I just think get it in the other half and go and play from there at times.
Yes, we all like to see wonderful football out from the back. There are certain times where you've got to get rid of it.
But in terms of a player, I think the sort of player that the club is missing is probably like the Christian Eriksen type. I feel like when you are in tight games and when Christian was there and teams would sit very deep, make it difficult, I suppose he had that magic to make things happen, to create an opportunity out of nothing.
And I feel like we have very good players still in midfield, but they're all a little bit similar. More holding-type players that haven't got that little bit of that vision and that magic that Christian Eriksen had.
So I feel like that's the sort of player, that should be at the club, in this moment, if I had to pinpoint anything.
Heung Min Son hasn't really been his usual fantastic self of late, what do you put this down to? And do you think his best days are potentially behind him?
I don't mean they're behind him. I think that it highlights how good he has been for the club.
I think that as a player, we all go through periods of time where you're not at your best, confidence is low and we haven't seen that from him. This year we have and it's dragged on far too long.
On top of that, playing in a team that is negative, not forward-thinking, in terms of how do we break down other teams. I feel like that all played into it, so I feel like a new coach, a new manager will do him the world of good and we'll get the best out of him.
He's obviously an honest guy, a great guy, the fans love him. He's come out himself and said that he feels awful about how he's been playing this season, but he's a wonderful footballer.
His attitude, the way he plays the game, the smile on his face is great and I just don't see that smile so much this year and that's been a shame for him. But I for one would not be thinking that his best days are behind him.
I mean, you never know. Gareth Bale when he moved on, I think the same question would have been asked because he was carrying the team at that point, but the money was spent well and then came the Pochettino years. We were fantastic. With a little bit of luck, finishing second twice, and getting to the Champions League final.
So would we miss him in a big way? Yes, in a huge, huge way. He does everything. He's a leader, a character, the captain, he leads the line, he scores all sorts of goals.
Every team would miss him, no doubt about it. So that would be a tough one to take for the club, there's no doubt about it.
I think they can. I mean, I think it's crazy when you look at the bottom half of the table and it's literally three points from Bournemouth up to Crystal Palace, so it's really exciting down there.
And I think that's the one thing that I do look at is that they play a lot of the teams in and around them, so it's still within their own hands.
And I think that when Gary O'Neill went in there, I think if we were in that position now, I'm sure he would take it. But it is in their own hands.
If they do stay up, I think it'll be down to character. I think that we've seen three or four times this year where they've been losing at halftime and they've come back and won games. So I feel like character is a huge thing for them.
I think they need to be more ruthless in front of the goal and score more goals and if they can do that, then I think they'll be okay.
I think everyone in the bottom half is in contention. I mean, if you go on a bad run now over the next six or seven games, they're going to be in the bottom three, no doubt about it.
When I look at it, I feel like Southampton are in big, big trouble. I feel that Forest will be another one that will go, and then after that, I think it could be anyone. I really do.
I feel that West Ham will be fine. Wolves, Bournemouth. Leicester have now obviously got rid of Rodgers. There's always usually an upturn when a new manager comes in.
I feel like Leeds could still get dragged into it. They had a great result against Nottingham Forrest, in the 6 pointer the other day.
But as I said, Saints and Nottingham Forrest would be the ones that I would think will be going down and it'll be one other... hopefully not Bournemouth!
It was great! I think that a couple of weeks ago I had a reunion of my old youth team at Portsmouth, which was amazing. Some people I haven't seen for 20/30 years. When you see those guys, it brings back memories of how you felt in those days.
To be 16 or 18 and have that dream to be a professional footballer is one thing which, I was able to do at Portsmouth and then be part of a team that went on a great run under Jim Smith, the FA Cup semifinal.
And what came with that was lots of talk about myself, John Beresford, etc, maybe moving on.
I remember around February/March that year, we were on our FA Cup run and I remember, like, some of the older players, like your Warren Aspinall's and people like that, would come down into the dressing room saying, "oh my God, you want to see the directors box! You better play well tonight, Darren!"
It was nuts. It really was. It all seemed to happen really quickly. Of course, to read about it gives you incredible amount of confidence and you really do feel like you're living the dream and there's an opportunity that you're going to have a career.
And then at the end of the year, we were so unlucky as Liverpool in the FA cup semi final. And then I got the call from Jim Smith that Terry Venables wanted to sign me and honestly, I don't think I was ready to leave. I think I'd only had one full season and we had what a successful season it was to get to that semi final.
So I kind of said to Jim, so what do I do? He said, well, you got to go and speak to him. It's an opportunity of a lifetime. And of course I did.
And once I met Terry, I signed there and then it didn't matter anything. What a man. The biggest influence on my career.
So to answer your question, it was great, it was exciting. Something that I always look back on as one of the nicer times during my career.
Because there are lots of ups and downs throughout the career, but as a youngster, coming through, it just feels like everything's on the up and everything is a goal you're trying to reach. And there's talk in the papers, talk everywhere, but it could happen.
Just what a nice man he was. It really was amazing.
I mean, you meet people in life and everything, but he was just the nicest guy, an absolute gentleman. I was nervous as hell.
I remember saying when I was signing, because there was lots of talk about 1 million or 2 million, so I said what was the fee? And he said "oh, we paid a lot. That's what we think of you. You'll be fine, you're going to love it here." That was it.
My dad was there, my mum was there. Just how he spoke to them, how he made them feel at ease. And then, from that point, then to a month later, to be doing preseason, be on the training pitch with him was unbelievable.
Even when I struggled, he always made me believe that I should be there and that things were going to be okay. Then, when things took off and I was buzzing, and then he was England manager and I played for him for England. Incredible times.
Yeah, I think there's always changes. It's tough to deal with as a player because it's not that you get comfortable with the manager, but it becomes normal, a normality of going in every day and doing a similar type of things.
And then a new manager comes in, obviously has different ideas, different opinions, so it is different.
But Terry was the best because tactically, he was always spot on. When you went on to the pitch, you never had any doubt in what he wanted you to do and where you should be. He made it simple and then his man management was the best.
He made you believe that you were going to go out and have the game of your life and no one else ever got to that level with me.
I felt I had lots of good coaches. Glenn Hoddle tactically was a different class, man management at times wasn't quite as good, but he was really young. He was ridiculously young to be England manager.
George Graham was a winner. I love playing for George. The style of football at times wasn't great away from home, we were very negative.
But Terry just had it all. Ossie Ardiles, who came in after Terry Venables, and he just made it fun. I mean, I was so disappointed as a 21 year old that Terry had gone. He already felt like a second father figure to me, with what he had done for me. And when I struggled at Tottenham and then I came back through that.
Then Ossie came in and gave me the freedom to get on the ball. Training was fun, but tactically, maybe not as good, in terms of defensively. We didn't really work on it. We had a mess.
In meetings we'd say, "hey, what shape should we get into? What do we do? When do we press? What happens when we give the ball away?" and he said "No no no no no, you're all top players, you shouldn't give the ball away. But when you do, you go and win it back" With that mentality, I guess we were never really going to win anything, but it was so enjoyable to play under Ossie.
Then there's Christian Gross, who comes in and everything's so strange, so different that you just can't take it on board, and that was never going to work.
But to be fair to him, now when you look at professional football and all the things that he tried to implement in terms of looking after yourselves and everything else was spot on. I just don't think we were ready for it.
It would have to be Gazza. I mean, he's a genius, I think. As simple as that.
A great guy. I remember watching Italia 90 as a kid and just thought, "wow, what a player". To then make my England debut with him, play in the Euros with him.
He was a genius, he really was. And he was so strong, he could do things, I watched him do things from afar and was in awe of it. And then to be part of the same England set up and watch him day in, day out. That was incredible. Loved playing with Gazza.
At Tottenham, I'd say, Jurgen Klinsmann was unbelievable. But probably the best at Tottenham would probably be Teddy Sheringham. Just an incredible footballer, his football brain. Anyone who played with him became a better player because he was that clever. He made people look better.
When I had the ball, he made things easy for me. I knew where he was going to be. He made great movement and his finishing was better than anyone. Just the way he used to pass the ball into the net. Didn't have to lash everything, as we would say, but everything was a pass into the top corner. He had headers. I mean, he had everything.
Of course, there are so many nutty things he did that are unreal. But for me, the biggest thing that people don't realise is what an incredible human being he is.
And I remember my debut, we played against Denmark. In the morning, the team's announced and then we go out to do some set plays and that sort of thing, and I'm in the team. Then we go back, have a bit of lunch, have a rest in the afternoon.
I got a knock around 4:30 or whatever, and I went to look and I said, "oh, no, Gazza!" thinking what's he going to do?
Thinking that I'm the new boy and all that, he's going to do something to me or some sort of initiation. He just came and asked have I got a shaver. I wasn't even shaving in those days.
And he let himself in and went, "How you feeling?" Yeah, I'm all right, I think.
He went, "I just want you to enjoy it, please, just take it all in. I don't remember my debut. It just passed me by. This can only happen once. You belong here. You'll be here for many, many years."
"Terry Venable bought me to Spurs. Brought you to Spurs, has given you your debut. You are a top, top player and you deserve to be here."
And he didn't have to do it, no one else did. It's just the man he was, and I'll never forget that. And I think that the game that night was probably, with everything that was going on, probably the best game in my career.
I'll be forever thankful to him for giving me those two minutes. He was the most famous footballer in the world and he put himself out for a youngster who just trying to make it at that level.
So as crazy as he was, that's a side of him that people probably don't remember, but I do.
It was great. I just loved it. I feel like as a kid that was the dream, to go to a World Cup, to play for England.
That season I had some injury problems and it looked like I was struggling. Luckily Glenn Hoddle really wanted me in the team and made it pretty clear to me.
And so when I was struggling, he took it within his own hands to use one of his physios to see me out of hours, as it were.
I would go around to Terry Byrne's house, who was actually the masseur at the time with England and Chelsea. To go out running with him, to get massages, to get treatment, in order to get myself fit for the tournament, because it was getting pretty close and the treatment I was getting and the diagnosis I was getting was not great.
And so to be within that squad and get told, which we all did on Sunday afternoon in La Manga, the biggest thing I probably remember is the fact that Gazza wasn't in the squad and then of course he lost it and the room got smashed up a little bit, I think.
But on a personal note, of course, it was everything I'd ever dreamed of to go to the tournament. Great squad, great lads, youngsters. Everyone obviously talks about Euro 96, but off of the back of that, you then had the youngsters coming through.
Becks, Gary Neville who was also part of Euro 96, of course. So new there was Becks, Michael Owen, Sol, Scholesy. Shove those four into what we already had and we had a real chance of winning it I think we all felt.
Unfortunately, of course, we went out on penalties, but the atmosphere within the squad was great.
Definitely a different feel to it, when you compare it to a Terry Venable squad. There's no chance of any dentist chairs or anything like that, but we had a different night out which would involve a bit of dinner and things like that.
But it was a good squad, a good balance, a good mix of lads and a real belief that we could win it.
The atmosphere for the Argentina game was incredible, I feel. I think we never turned up to a game before, 2 hours before and literally the stadium was full and the Argentinian fans surprised me at just how noisy, intense and intimidating they were.
It was crazy. I think that we played the three games before and it felt like obviously a home game, being in France, as our fans are a different class.
But the Argentinians and the atmosphere with the fans going at it an hour and a half before the game was insane. And it turned out to be a classic game of football.
Think the first half was one of the best halves of football ever played in. Back and forth, and I think we were different class and deserved to probably be 3-1/4-1 up, but they equalise at half time and the rest is history.
Becks got sent off and everything else. Of course, you're left with bad memories of the night instead of good memories.
Well, I think that something that people obviously always talk about is the injuries.
Which is a shame, because I feel like after being part of your Euro 96 and a World Cup squad, scoring World Cups, and being, up until last season, being the record Premier League appearance holder for Spurs, those are all huge accomplishments and things that I was very proud of.
I thought I dealt with them all right, but when I look back, I think I probably didn't. I felt like I was always okay. I always had a smile on my face. I think in hindsight, when I was missing games, it was tough and I had to go to the games to watch. I wish I didn't now.
I feel like that was tough and the frustration it gave me made me desperate to get back on the pitch even more and I would end up playing when I shouldn't.
Obviously it's disappointing to miss games, but instead of missing three weeks and then coming back too early when it should have been four weeks, you come back on three weeks and then you're out for another three weeks.
I just wish I had a stronger physio or something at the time to say, "no, Darren's not fit, not playing."
Managers would come up and coaches and even Sir Alan Sugar would call me and ask me to go on the bench even though I wasn't fit, give the fans a lift and things like that.
So I think that as I sit here now, I probably didn't deal with it very well. It was really tough times because although it's the best job in the world, when you're sitting there watching your mainsail playing in big games, training every day, there were tough times and things that I thought I was dealing with but probably wasn't dealing with very well.
I think my favourite moment would be scoring in the World Cup.
I think that that's something as a kid in our garden back in Southampton, I would be dreaming of doing and smashing in our garage door over many, many years, dreaming of that moment. So to do that, I think, was an incredible moment.
I feel like it was a pretty good goal as well. Michael Owen crossed it, that was cleared out, and the touch was good. And I smashed it into the top corner. It was a feeling like no other that I've probably had in my life. So that would obviously be right up there.
My best goal for Spurs was probably against Leeds in an FA Cup game. Classic FA Cup game, which we won 2-0 in the replay. Probably from 35 yards and I hit it with a bit of fade, as we would say. As soon as I hit it, you just know that it's going into the top corner, in off the post. Nigel Martyn diving for it. We won the game 2-0. David Ginola scored a great goal after that.
Then I would say the one against Sweden for England and the Umbro Cup. Last minute, and I scored a goal on the half volley. Alan Shearer headed it back to me and I just took it as the ball was rising. It was difficult technique to keep the ball down and I just caught it sweet as hell with both feet off the ground, almost like a scissor kick, karate kick, and it went in off both posts and it made it even more dramatic at Elland Road in the last minute.
Those three, are especially ones that I feel people will speak to me about in the streets or wherever it may be, and they remember those, and I certainly do as well.
It felt great. And I think that the reality not going to United and watching them win everything was hell at times. So to actually finally win something, of course, before I went to Spurs, the year before, they won the FA Cup.
As a kid growing up, although a Southampton Fan, the first FA Cup final I watched had Tottenham winning against Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers, with Glenn Hoddle and Ossie Ardiles, and players who then went on to play for.
So the feeling was great, it really was. And I think that with Tottenham fans being at Wembley, which I had obviously done for England, it just felt different, it felt special.
The game was awful. I always remember the game was awful. Robbie Savage, who of course, I went on to play with at Birmingham, ended up getting Justin Edinburgh sent off. Then instead of them trying to go on and win the game, they ended up sitting back and still wanting to go for penalties.
And Allan Nielsen scored the winning goal in the last minute, exactly how you dream of winning the cup final, the last-minute winner.
And that was about all I remember of the game. It was pretty awful, but the feeling afterwards was great.
Okay, so it would have to say David Seaman in goal, probably. I would say Scholesy, Teddy Sheringham, Jurgen Klinsmann and probably Sol Campbell.