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Spurs boss: Bentaleb needs the time and patience that Ledley King had

Nabil Bentaleb Nabil Bentaleb

Monday, April 7, 2014
12:19 PM

Tim Sherwood says Nabil Bentaleb needs the same time and patience that Ledley King got when he first broke into the side.

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Ledley King in action for Tottenham in 2012Ledley King in action for Tottenham in 2012

Former captain and club legend King is the last player to come through Spurs’ youth system and become a permanent member of the first team for a number of years.

However, Sherwood has shown his faith in Bentaleb, fielding the 19-year-old in 19 of his 22 games in charge. And, as the Lilywhites prepare to host Sunderland in the Premier League tonight, he believes the Algeria international is only showing a small glimmer of his potential.

“He’s a good player,” said the head coach. “We did that when Ledley King first got into the side. He wasn’t the best player and he wasn’t expected to be.

“It comes in time when you develop. What you are seeing at the moment is nothing compared to what he can actually give after playing a few games.

“Kids need time. When you are throwing them into sides, they need time to develop. Everyone should take a step back and not expect too much, too early. He’s certainly got a good future ahead of him.”

Tom Carroll, 21, and Jake Livermore, 24, are both out on loan at QPR and Hull respectively, while Harry Kane, 20, has been on the fringes of Spurs’ first-team squad this season - and Sherwood also feels they have good careers ahead of them, if they are given a chance.

“Irrespective of whether I’m here or not, those players are Premier League footballers and deserve a chance to play at the highest level, whether it’s here or elsewhere,” said Sherwood.

“I think, given time and being brought through the right way with the right experienced players, they have certainly got a future in the Premier League and at a top club.

“I know what it is all about. I was developed at Watford. Giving someone the opportunity is not putting them on when the fourth official sticks the board up with four minutes on and say ‘change the game’. It’s not like that.

“You need to be put in and then brought out and get the opportunity to be poor. You need to be better and better again. You can’t write them off because they are not the best players [at the start]. You need to have equal opportunities.”

Spurs announced on Friday that King will be given a testimonial match at White Hart Lane on May 12, and Sherwood feels he is the best player to emerge out of Tottenham’s academy.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “He’s a one-club man and I don’t think you will see too many of them in the future in the game.

“He’s the best home-grown player this club has ever produced - someone that has had some chronic injury problems. He was a freak of nature, Ledley. He hardly trained.

“I saw his development from the start, I played in his debut and he was so calm and collected in possession. He knew when to speed it up, knew when to slow it down.

“He’s a real credit to this football club and he deserves all the support he gets from our supporters at the end of the season.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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