Mauricio Pochettino has revealed a number of Tottenham Hotspur’s World Cup stars wanted to leave the club last summer.
Spurs are preparing for a history-defining match against Ajax on Wednesday evening in the Champions League semi-final second leg.
Who tried to leave Spurs last summer? Five things you need to know…
- Tottenham Hotspur had 12 representatives at last summer’s World Cup in Russia.
- Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Dele Alli, and Harry Kane.
- Belgium’s squad included Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, and Mousa Dembele while Hugo Lloris was among France’s World Cup winners.
- Also involved were Son Heung-min, Davinson Sanchez and Christian Eriksen.
- Dembele left in January, Alderweireld and Vertonghen were reportedly close to an exit last summer while Trippier has had recent links away.
Ahead of their Champions League semi-final second leg away to Ajax – they trail the Dutch side 1-0 after a first-leg defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Pochettino spoke about the ambition of the players at the club.
The Argentinian revealed how certain players who were representing their respective countries at last summer’s World Cup asked the Spurs manager to help them depart the club.
Pochettino said: “They called me during the World Cup and they said to me, ‘I’m leaving’.
“I said, ‘Talk to the chairman’. They say, ‘Yeah, but I want to tell you because I’m excited to go and play this or that club’.
“I tell the chairman, ‘Do not trust the player who wants to stay, not the one who wants to leave, because the one who wants to go to a big club often does it because he is ambitious and wants to win titles, and that is the kind of footballer who needs Tottenham because that player is also the one who is going to deliver to the maximum’.”
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Big night for Tottenham
Wednesday evening could be the night Tottenham Hotspur create history by reaching their first ever Champions League final.
To do so, they will need to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first match, with Donny van de Beek’s first-half goal enough to secure a vital away victory for the Ajax.
Both sides know that whoever progresses to the final in June will have to face Liverpool who heroically overcame a 3-0 first-leg defeat to win 4-0 at Anfield against La Liga champions Barcelona.
Spurs will need that ambition, courage and ability to bypass Ajax and make this season’s Champions League final an all-English affair.