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Tanganga: I achieved childhood dream with debut

20 Mar 2020
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Spurs defender recalls being told he would start for boyhood club against Liverpool as he receives his Premier League Debut Ball to mark the occasion

Japhet Tanganga's Premier League debut for Tottenham Hotspur was a moment he had been dreaming about since he started playing football in his hometown of Hackney in north London.

The 20-year-old defender has spent half of his life at Spurs, joining their Academy at the age of 10, and he fulfilled his ultimate ambition of playing for his boyhood club when he walked out against Premier League leaders Liverpool on 11 January.

"Honestly I have been dreaming about this moment, making my Premier League debut since I started playing football and it is amazing to receive this award," Tanganga said after being presented with his Premier League Debut Ball, an accolade given to homegrown debutants to mark their rise to the top flight.

"It's amazing, honestly, the hard work that's been put in from people around me, myself, the sacrifices. It's just an amazing reward."

Tough introduction

His debut couldn't have come against a tougher opposing team.

Head coach Jose Mourinho played him for 90 minutes against the speedy frontline of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino at a packed out Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"It was quite nerve-racking," Tanganga said. "I actually found out on the Tuesday of that week that I was playing.

"But on Saturday, once I woke up and I got to the stadium I wasn't nervous. I knew that the manager had asked me to do something on that pitch, he asked me to do a certain job, and I knew that I just had to make sure to do that.

"It was tough, because they had Mane and Salah. Mane, African Player of the Year, Salah the previous African Player of the Year. So, amazing form, but it was a great challenge."

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