Belfast Telegraph

Youthful Saha makes winning start

He may be approaching the twilight of his career, but Louis Saha was left feeling like a teenage Roy of the Rovers after scoring twice on his full Tottenham debut.

Many expected 33-year-old Saha to be a bit-part player at most when he signed from Everton in a shock deadline day deal last month, but manager Harry Redknapp handed him his first start against Newcastle yesterday evening ahead of fans' favourite Jermain Defoe.

The former Manchester United striker did not disappoint in a hugely one-sided game that saw Spurs run out 5-0 winners. Saha took just five minutes to open his account as he poked home Emmanuel Adebayor's cross to put the home side 2-0 up after Benoit Assou-Ekotto's early opener. Saha said: "It was a great, great feeling."

The Frenchman added his second 15 minutes later when he picked up Adebayor's knock-down before beating Magpies stopper Tim Krul from 12 yards and Tottenham then went on to cruise to victory.

Saha added: "I am not that young, but it's just like I was living the dream of a young boy - to make your debut and score on your home ground, it's just amazing."

Much of the pre-match focus had centred on Redknapp's tax evasion trial and the clamour for him to be appointed as England manager following Fabio Capello's resignation just hours after the Spurs manager's acquittal.

If Football Association chairman David Bernstein was watching, then he will have been highly impressed with Redknapp's team.

Tottenham, quite simply, were at their imperious best. Creativity, pace, critical finishing and hard work were the hallmarks of the display, which came amid a backdrop of chants from the home support begging Redknapp to snub England and remain at White Hart Lane.

The 64-year-old has transformed Spurs from relegation candidates to title contenders in little over three years, and for that reason, Saha understands why Redknapp is the overwhelming favourite to take the England job.

The striker said: "He is right up there with the best managers because he has so much quality around the team and he gets more than 100% from every player. It's immense. That shows he has great quality. It's great to work for him. He gives you so much confidence. He has a desire to win things. You can see it in his eyes."


From Belfast Telegraph