Dempsey settling in at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur’s Clint Dempsey (left) in action against Wigan Athletic in the English Premier League championship.-AP Tottenham Hotspur’s Clint Dempsey (left) in action against Wigan Athletic in the English Premier League championship.

“I come inside and I’m more like an attacking inside-left, so being more central is good, but it’s about getting on the ball and making the right movements, and I’m starting to do a better job in that respect,” says Clint Dempsey.

Moving to a new club can be a difficult process for some players. While some hit the ground running, others take time to settle into their new surroundings and that was the case with Clint Dempsey.

The Tottenham forward, though, thinks he is finally getting to grips with the task of filling the giant void left by Rafael van der Vaart’s departure.

Van der Vaart scored 28 goals and provided many more assists during a two-year spell at White Hart Lane before he returned to Hamburg this summer.

Andre Villas-Boas signed Dempsey to fill the number 10 role Van der Vaart performed so well, even though the American was used to operating off the left flank.

Dempsey scored a whopping 23 goals for Fulham last season, but he struggled initially to settle into the more central role required of him at Spurs this season.

Dempsey has scored only twice in Tottenham colours, but he combined well with Jermain Defoe against West Ham during the recent match, and the 29-year-old thinks he is finally becoming accustomed to his new position.

“I've been frustrated with not getting on the ball, being in the game or affecting games, but I think I’m now starting to do a better job,” Dempsey said after the 3-1 win.

“I thought I was good against West Ham. I was able to get a little bit more on the angle, be able to drive with the ball a bit more, take more shots and create chances for other people.

“It was good to play a part in two of the goals and I was unlucky to hit the post but I enjoyed the game.”

Part of Dempsey’s initial struggle to fit into the Tottenham team can be put down to what was a tumultuous summer for him.

Dempsey thought he would secure a dream move to Liverpool that he had hankered for all summer when Brendan Rodgers made an enquiry for the forward, but the Merseysiders failed to follow it up with a bid. Martin Jol left Dempsey out of his Fulham squad at the start of the season before Tottenham ended the forward’s nightmare summer by meeting the GBP 6million asking price that Liverpool were unwilling to match.

“It was a difficult August for me,” admitted Dempsey. “I didn’t have a pre-season with Tottenham or anybody, so I’m trying to play catch-up a little bit and trying to adjust to this team and the style they play. I’ve been looking at videos and trying to figure out a way to make an impact and help the team. I’m traditionally used to playing in a 4-4-2 where I’m the guy on the left but I’m not an out-and-out winger.

“I come inside and I’m more like an attacking inside-left, so being more central is good, but it’s about getting on the ball and making the right movements, and I’m starting to do a better job in that respect.”

The victory over West Ham arrested a three-match losing streak for Spurs and Dempsey produced his best performance since joining the club as he set up two of the team’s goals with an impressive display just behind Jermain Defoe.

Villas-Boas is glad Dempsey’s on-off move to Liverpool failed to materialise and is now reaping the rewards.

“It was a masterclass from our chairman to sign him,” said Villas-Boas. “I gave the green light to do it and I think we did extremely well.

“Last match was his first full individual 90-minute performance and that was important for him. He has been looking for it to happen for some time.”

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