June 18 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Lewis Holtby says he was desperate to start his Tottenham career at the earliest possible opportunity – even though it meant giving up a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The 22-year-old reached the knock-out stages of Europe’s elite competition with Schalke before Christmas, and initially looked set to complete the campaign in Germany before moving to Spurs on a free transfer when his contract expired in the summer.
However, the Lilywhites opted to hasten Holtby’s arrival, negotiating a cut-price £1.5million fee on Monday - and he says he jumped at the opportunity.
“Obviously I wanted a quick decision and now it’s happened so quickly, not on the 31st,” said Spurs’ new signing. “It’s fantastic for me. Now I can settle in and I’m really looking forward to the season, and I hope we can get into the Champions League.
“I’ve played in the Champions League with Schlke and went into the last 16 - now they’re going to play against Galatasaray. But for me, since I decided to play for Spurs in the summer, I had a feeling that I wanted to come here straight away.
“I maybe need these months now until the summer to fit in. The talks with the coach, Andre Villas-Boas, also made me feel very comfortable and I wanted to come here as soon as possible.
“I felt very comfortable [in my first day of training]. I had to go through the tunnel for the new players, and I got a bit of stick from everybody. It started with a laugh and that’s good. I’m very pleased to be here, in the dressing room and on the pitch.”
Holtby believes Tottenham have the facilities to match Europe’s top clubs, and he is now intent on helping the club to match that status on the field.
“It [the training ground] is massive, it’s fantastic. It’s the best I’ve seen so far to be honest,” he said. “I’m proud to be here, that I can work in such a great facility. It’s Champions League [standard] and now it’s up to us to get there in the league.
“I’m very impressed. The players have so much quality, the coaching staff is fantastic, the facilities – it’s the full package and with a great city like London just beneath it.
“I wanted to go to the Premier League so badly because I’ve always watched it on TV and I love the game here, I love the fans, I love the atmosphere.
“I’ve been following [Spurs] on Twitter, on Youtube, I’ve got the app on my phone. I was very keen on getting every result and watching every game. I was very excited and now I’m here - I’m living it now.”
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