Japhet Tanganga has revealed that the biggest change he found when making the move from the Tottenham academy to the first team, is the goal amongst the players.
Tanganga has been a Spurs player since he joined at the age of ten and like Harry Kane and Oliver Skipp, has made his way through the ranks and into the first team.
The 22-year-old has made ten appearances for the Lilywhites so far this season, playing as both a right-back and in a back three.
With the arrival of Antonio Conte, the London-born player will be one of many hoping to impress his new boss to try and earn himself a regular spot in the starting XI.
In an interview with Pro Direct Soccer, Tanganga revealed that he started off playing in a midfield position but it was in a game against Arsenal, who had released him before his move to Spurs, that got him playing as a defender.
The youngster made his Premier League debut against Liverpool nearly two years ago and he has been working to get into the regular starting line-up since.
With the arrival of Emerson Royal, after signing him on deadline day, Tanganga had a battle to be first choice full-back under Nuno Espritio Santo.
However, with the arrival of the Italian and a change in formation, the 22-year-old is now competing for one of three spots in the back line.
In Conte’s first two games in charge of the Lilywhites, he opted for Eric Dier, Ben Davies and Cristian Romero at the back but with the latter picking up an injury on international duty, it was Tanganga who got the nod to replace him.
The defender played 90 minutes in the 2-1 defeat to NS Mura and 68 minutes in the previous game, against Leeds and although his attacking flare in particular is lacking, he has dealt with much of what has been thrown at him from a defensive perspective.
In the interview, Tanganga went back to when he made the move from the academy side to the first team and explained the difference.
“I think 18s, 23s, as much as you are a team, you’re kind of individuals because you’re trying to make that breakthrough, so you have people wanting to do their own thing,” he said.
“With the first team it’s one objective, you’re trying to win, you’re trying to win a trophy.
“Especially Spurs, we’re trying to win something since we haven’t won anything since 2008, everyone’s mindset is that,” he added. “Everyone is trying to win, everyone is trying to be the best and for you to be the best you need to work together.
Dane Scarlett and Dilan Markanday, who are currently part of the academy, have both had their chance to get match minutes with the first team so far this season.
They are both still developing and trying to break their way in to the first team regularly, which may involve some loan spells before they do so – just like the path Skipp took.
However once you have made it to the Tottenham first team and are being chosen to start regularly, for any young Spurs player, that will be the ultimate goal.
Therefore, the defender summed up what he has learnt, after making that move.
“That transition is what I’ve learnt from it,” he said. “You can be selfish but being unselfish as well, because you need your team to win.”
The Lilywhites haven’t won any silverware for 13 years but will be hoping that with the arrival of Conte and still chances in the Europa Conference League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup – once they join the competition, that the trophy drought could come to an end.
The Italian also has to lead his side to as high of a position in the Premier League as possible and will want to get his second league win for Spurs, when they play Burnley on Sunday.
For Tanganga, he will need to continue to work hard in training and when he is called upon by the Tottenham boss, he will need to ensure he impresses to try and secure his position at the back.
Source by Football London