clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nabil Bentaleb wants to set example for Spurs youth

Don't be fooled by the starts that I got I'm still, I'm still Benny from the block Used to have a little, now I have a lot No matter where I go, I know where I came from

Julian Finney

In an interview, youngster Nabil Bentaleb said all the right things about winning stuff with Spurs and how Pochettino's brought a winning mentality and yadda yadda yadda. You've heard it a hundred times. But, more interestingly, he also spoke about his transition from the academy to the first team:

"Just because I'm in the first team now, it doesn't mean I've forgotten about the people who helped me in the youth team.

"I still speak to (academy manager) John McDermott and all the young players. I speak to the kids from the junior teams. It's no problem. As a footballer, it's important that you set an example. You shouldn't be inaccessible.

"In France, you are completely separate from the first team as a young player. It's not like you can see the first team pitches, drive in the same entrance. In France it's separated. You can't see them, you train in different areas. It's far away.

"You can't see your goals, whereas here, you train near the first-team pitches and you say: ‘I want to be there'. When I was at Lille, you couldn't see anything. On the occasions we did see the professional players, we were in awe of them, because it was so rare.

"When I was in the youth team here, the player I looked up to was Michael Dawson (who joined Hull last summer). He was always talking to the young players, giving us confidence, protecting us. I'm not as experienced but I'm trying to follow his way. I'm trying to be as accessible as I can."

Bentaleb added: "We have great players and great talent - we're guided by the older ones which is a really good thing. We have to keep working as we do always and hopefully this generation will have a bright future. We can all help each other."

Despite his success, Bentaleb still remembers his roots. He knows where he came from and he wants to make a difference for these kids struggling to get their shot. It's encouraging to know that the barriers between the players of the present and the players of the future are disappearing.

We seem to be in a golden age of young talent coming through, and hopefully everyone involved from the coaches down to the senior players themselves keep doing what they can to nurture the gifted kids in the academy.