Premier League

Defoe revelling under AVB

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Thu, 20 Dec 2012 10:50:00

Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen has brushed aside suggestions he could be on the move in January, but has admitted playing in the Premier League is a long-term goal.

The Denmark international has emerged as one of Europe's most coveted players following a series of impressive displays for club and country, with a number of teams monitoring his performances.

But the talented 20-year-old, who has already made 136 first-team appearances for Ajax, is in no hurry to turn his back on the Eredivisie side and is more interested in regular action, rather than the financial rewards which may be on offer elsewhere.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham have all been linked in the past, but any suitors are likely to need to demonstrate patience in their pursuit of the level-headed youngster.

When asked if he was likely to be on the move in January, Eriksen told the Guardian: "I don't think so. If something really exciting is coming, maybe you would look at it. But my feeling now is take it easy and see when it comes.

"I think for everyone who wants to get to the highest level, you have to be in the Premier League, of course. But when that should be, I have no idea. Maybe 10 years.

"I'm going to see what opportunities there are but I'm still happy here and I don't have any thoughts that I have to leave.

"Money has never been a motivation. I have chosen football before that every time and I still do that. I'm addicted to football. When I get outside, I just want to stay on the training pitch."

Eriksen had two trials with Chelsea when aged 14 and 15, but has no regrets over the fact that the European champions did not offer him a contract at Stamford Bridge.

He added: "Chelsea is such a big club, they have so much money that if they need someone for the first team, they just buy them. Ajax buy them if they are young and they see talent. And it's easier to go to the first-team here and that was also what I saw.

"At Chelsea it was like, Under-17 own world, Under-19 own world and then the first team another world. For a [young] player it was difficult to see how there could be a possibility."

Eriksen also snubbed interest from Manchester City 18 months ago, with his desire to play regularly the main driving force behind his decision.

"Again, it was the feeling to get to a big club where they buy some new players every six months," he said.

"Then, probably, if you didn't do well in the beginning, you would go out on loan. I wouldn't like that. For me, it was just about wanting to play. At that point I was just 19 years old, so I had no hurry."

The 30-year-old England striker has started all but one Spurs' 17 Premier League games this campaign, scoring nine times and 13 in all competitions.

His good form has been reflected by the team, who have won four of their last five matches and sit fourth in the table.

Defoe is now hoping the good performances can translate into silverware and Champions League qualification.

"The new manager has come in and he has shown great faith in me," he said.

"He said to me from the beginning, 'I want you to stay at the club, I know you will score goals'.

"It has been fantastic. I have got my chances, I have scored goals.

"I just want to keep it going, keep scoring more goals and help the team achieve something this year."

Defoe's fine form has forced fellow forward Emmanuel Adebayor into a bit-part role at White Hart Lane this year.

But with the Togo international considering travelling to next month's Africa Cup of Nations, Villas-Boas's dependency on his first-choice forward could soon become even greater.

That is good news for Defoe personally, but for the sake of the team, he hopes Adebayor opts to remain with his club.

He said: "Obviously, for us, we want him to stay here and help us to win games.

"At the end of the day, I can't stand here and say he shouldn't go because it is special when you play for your country.

"It is a decision that Ade has to make himself."

Despite being the spearhead of Tottenham's attack this season, Defoe admits that he needs to improve his defensive play after Villas-Boas held a meeting with his squad in a bid to address their susceptibility to conceding late goals.

Spurs have shipped 10 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this season, a joint-league high along with bottom side Reading.

That inability to keep things tight late on has cost them dearly, so much so that if matches had ended after 80 minutes, Tottenham would be top of the league.

Defoe added: "There is no point standing here telling you what was said in the meeting because I would be standing for a long time.

"But it is not just the defenders - it's the whole team. It's that famous saying: defend from the front.

"It is something that has happened and is something that we don't want to continue to happen."

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