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Wembley winner Woodgate wants to relive 'best feeling ever'

PUBLISHED: 16:11 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 07 September 2010

JONATHAN Woodgate can t wait to return to Wembley in the Carling Cup final in March. The England defender, who scored the winner for Tottenham in last season s triumph against Chelsea, rates the 2-1 win as one of the best days of his professional career.

JONATHAN Woodgate can't wait to return to Wembley in the Carling Cup final in March.

The England defender, who scored the winner for Tottenham in last season's triumph against Chelsea, rates the 2-1 win as one of the best days of his professional career.

Spurs are just 90 minutes away from a second successive Carling Cup final - they lead Burnley 4-1 after Tuesday night's semi-final first leg at the Lane - and Woodgate is bullish about picking up a second winners' medal.

"When you win a cup final it is just the best feeling," Woodgate told Ham&High Sport. "Last year's final was one of the greatest days of my career.

"It came soon after I signed for Spurs - I scored the winning goal. And it was my first winners' medal. That's why we play football to win things. All the times you were playing in the playground you always wanted to win something. It is important at the end of your career to look back and say you have won things.

"We now have a massive opportunity to get back into the final. It will not be easy against Burnley at their place. We know what to expect. They are well organised and doing well in the Championship.

"But we also know what it is like to win the competition. When you win any competition, you want more because there is no better feeling.

"The players at the larger clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea will tell you there is no better feeling when you win medals."

Woodgate, who has been a rock in Tottenham's troubled central defence this season, knows Harry Redknapp's side have to find the consistency in the Premier League to match their winning ways in the cups.

Tottenham may be through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after Friday's 3-1 win over Wigan and into the last 32 of the Uefa Cup but the Lilywhites are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.

"It has been a tough year for the club in the league," admitted Woodgate. "But now, hopefully, it can change. It has not gone to plan by any stretch of the imagination.

"It was important to get the winning mentality back after a few bad results in the league.

"We did that in style against Wigan in the FA Cup and now Burnley. That's why we fielded a strong sides against them.

"Harry told us it was important to get the winning mentality back. It is really important at any football club. We just want to win as many games as we can."

Woodgate, who wears the captain's armband in the absence of Ledley King, wants the fans to give Hossam Ghaly a chance to get his Spurs career back on track.

The Egyptian international, who angered Spurs fans two seasons ago when he threw his jersey on the ground after being substituted in a game against Blackburn, was booed when Redknapp wanted to send him on as a sub against Wigan.

"The fans have to give him a break," said Woodgate. "Everyone makes mistakes. We all do things we regret and I'm sure Hossam regretted what he did.

"I just want to get the message over to the fans - give him a break. We are all in this together and we need as many players as we can.

"Hossam's got to be feeling down. He's 26 years old. He's been working really hard and a good player. I'm sure he's learned from it - he's a good professional.

"The fans need to get behind him. It is not nice when you get booed. The first thing Hossam needs to do is get back on the pitch and try to win them over."

Woodgate, though, has no such problems with the Spurs fans. The former Leeds, Real Madrid and Middlesbrough star has matured as a person and as a player and the fans will be more than happy if he is the one leading the team out at Wembley on March 1.

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk


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