Search

Spurs youngster Bentaleb’s pinching himself ahead of World Cup with Algeria

14:00 05 June 2014

Tottenham and Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb: "At the start of this season, I never dreamed that I might go to the World Cup."

Tottenham and Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb: "At the start of this season, I never dreamed that I might go to the World Cup."

EMPICS Sport

Exclusive: Nabil Bentaleb admits he is pinching himself as his rapid rise to prominence culminates in a World Cup campaign.

The 19-year-old was virtually unknown at the start of December but, when Tim Sherwood became Tottenham’s head coach, the new boss immediately promoted Bentaleb from the club’s academy.

The midfielder featured in 19 of Sherwood’s first 22 games in charge of Spurs, including nine starts, bringing him to the attention of a few national teams.

Bentaleb was born in Lille, France, to Algerian parents and had made one appearance for France’s Under-19s in November 2012, while England’s five-year residency rules meant he would have been eligible to play for the Three Lions in 2017.

The battle for Bentaleb’s allegiance did not last long. He committed himself to Algeria in February and appeared for the Desert Foxes in a friendly against Slovenia on March 5.

Bentaleb admits he is stunned to be heading to Brazil, and insists he was not promised a spot at this summer’s World Cup during his deliberations.

“Of course, at the start of this season, I never dreamed that I might go to the World Cup. I was still in the reserves, so it’s been good progress!” he said.

“I thought a lot about it and I decided to make the choice that my heart was telling me and that was Algeria. All my family’s from Algeria and I’m half Algerian as well.

“Did I feel I’d been overlooked by France in the past? Not really, I didn’t think about that because you have to look at the future. You have to think long-term, not short-term. It has nothing to do with that.

“The manager [Vahid Halilhodzic] didn’t tell me anything about the World Cup. He’s a very honest man and he told me before I even picked Algeria that if I wanted to play in the World Cup I would have to fight for my place. He didn’t promise me anything.

“We are outsiders but we’re not going there just to play, we want to do something.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 09:00
Highgate Harriers' Ryan McKinlay (right) finishes in a dead heat with his good friend Tom Beedell. Pic: Martyn Loach

Highgate Harriers’ Ryan McKinlay made a passionate plea to be allowed to enter a “historically significant race” on Sunday – and he ended up coming joint first after a dead heat with his good friend Tom Beedell.

Yesterday, 08:00
Alan Clyne of Scotland is the second seed at the London Open squash tournament, which will be held at Cumberland in Hampstead

Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club will host the annual international London Open squash tournament next week, with $20,000 (£12,800) of prize money up for grabs.

Yesterday, 07:00
Alex Goode of Saracens. Pic: Matthew Impey/Wiredphotos.co.uk

Full-back Alex Goode will be lining up for Saracens against Northampton Saints on Sunday, and the England international insists his focus will be on the top-of-the-table clash at Allianz Park.

Yesterday, 06:30
Jade Doran (right) practises with her brother Daniel

Black belt Jade Doran collected a gold and a silver medal at the UK Open Taekwondo Championships in Guildford.

Most read sport

The Labour MP has resigned after posting a photo of a house draped with three Cross of St George flags on the day of the Rochester and Strood by-election.

The club said the reaction following their decision to allow Evans to train had been at an intensity they did not anticipate.

The celebrity chef is embroiled in a bitter dispute over the contract for the lease of one of his restaurants.

The Labour MP has apologised after posting a photo of a house draped with three red-and-white Cross of St George flags on the day of the Rochester and Strood by-election.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition