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Holtby’s keen to find his role in Tottenham’s midfield

Lewis Holtby Lewis Holtby

Thursday, July 25, 2013
7:30 AM

Lewis Holtby has adapted to life at Tottenham so quickly that he feels he has been at White Hart Lane for years – and now the January signing is intent on settling into Andre Villas-Boas’ starting line-up.

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Holtby made a £1.5million switch from German outfit Schalke in the winter and made his first appearance just two days later, in the 1-1 draw at Norwich.

The 22-year-old went on to make 17 appearances for Spurs in the second half of the campaign, but he only made seven starts.

Now Holtby has spent six months at the Lane and, although he is yet to play in the pre-season campaign due to a knee injury sustained while captaining Germany at the European Under-21 Championships, the midfielder is keen to find a role in Villas-Boas’ first-choice XI.

“I moved to a different league with no pre-season, and after two days I was playing my first game,” Holtby told Spurs TV. “It was very quick and that half-season went very quickly – it was Sunday, Thursday, Sunday, Thursday.

“It was just a case off getting on with it somehow, but everyone at this club really made it very easy for me to settle in so I feel like I’ve been here for two or three years.

“It just feels so comfortable and London is such a nice city. I think I made absolutely the right decision to come here - I hope I can extend my contract to five [years]!

“My goal is definitely to become a regular in the starting line-up. With the pre-season now, it’s a brilliant opportunity for me, to get the team even better and especially for the coach to get me where I can play best. That’s what I was looking for last month - to have a good pre-season and to fit into the team even better.

“My goals will be to get some silverware with Tottenham, to be in the starting line-up and to win all of the London derbies - home or away.”

Holtby was used in a number of different advanced roles last season and he feels his versatility gives him an advantage, while he also believes he can operate in a deeper-lying role in central midfield.

“I really like this position, I never thought I would ever play a No6 role but at Schalke Hubbe Stevens, the Dutch manager, developed me into that position and I loved it,” said Holtby.

“With my running ability I think I can play as an attacking No6 or as a defensive No6 - I can always come back to my position. I love having the game in front of me and getting on the ball a lot, and I think this position suits me.

“As you have seen probably so far, I’ve played every position here – on the left wing, right wing, No10, No6, No8, No9 and a half - name every number. But I think that’s a good thing to have, if you can play more than one position. If you play every position in midfield I think that’s a good sign.

“Of course there were expectations [when I arrived]. I was the only signing in January, people expect a lot you. I played in the Champions League and I played a really good half-season with Schalke so of course the expectation is high.

“But I didn’t put any pressure on myself - I know what I can do, I know my abilities and if I always give 110 per cent then eventually things go right. I’m just trying to improve my game, trying to get better.

“I’m nearly 23 now so I’m quite young but if you see my [CV] you can see I’ve got quite a lot of games and experience. But with these lads here and the international players we’ve got, my abilities will definitely increase.

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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