Staking his claim

Clint Dempsey... immensely talented.-AP

Andre Villas-Boas will find it difficult to keep Clint Dempsey out of the Tottenham side on current form and the former New England Revolution man is proving to be one of America’s finest football exports, writes Pete Thompson.

Clint Dempsey has not been a regular starter for Tottenham since his summer move from Fulham but the United States midfielder has staked his claim in the last two matches.

Dempsey, 29, scored 23 goals for Fulham last season and his outstanding form attracted interest from rival clubs — particularly as he had just a year remaining on his contract.

Liverpool were strongly linked with the Texan but Spurs offered him the opportunity to stay in London and he signed a three-year contract in August 2012.

Dempsey was Fulham’s talisman, but with more competition for places at White Hart Lane he has found himself limited to substitute appearances more often than not.

However, Dempsey has still chipped in with six goals for Andre Villas-Boas’ side, including one in a stunning 3-2 win against Manchester United in the English Premier League.

The USA international scored two goals in a FA Cup victory over Coventry and was also on target in the previous game against Reading.

Villas-Boas will find it difficult to keep Dempsey out of the side on current form and the former New England Revolution man is proving to be one of America’s finest football exports.

Dempsey’s potential was recognised at an early age and when he tragically lost his sister Jennifer to a brain aneurysm at the age of 16, he was determined to pursue a career in football in her honour.

He captained the Dallas Texans and was their leading scorer as well as being voted the Most Valuable Player in the Tampa Bay Sun Bowl tournament.

The intelligent Dempsey was a health and exercise major at Furman University and continued to catch the eye with his outstanding displays.

His football career took off when he was selected by New England Revolution in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft and he scored seven goals in his debut season.

Dempsey was voted MLS Rookie of the Year after helping the Revolution reach the Eastern Conference Finals and he scored another 10 goals the following season — including the winner in the Eastern Conference final which gave him his first taste of an MLS Cup final.

He appeared as a substitute in the MLS Cup final the following season as the Revolution slumped to their second consecutive defeat in the showpiece game.

But despite that disappointment, Dempsey’s stock had risen considerably mainly due to his performances at international level — including being the only American player to score in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Fulham made a move for Dempsey in December 2006 and got their man for around GBP2 million — the biggest-ever fee for an MLS player.

Dempsey scored just the one goal in the 2006/07 campaign, netting the winner against Liverpool in the EPL.

He signed a new contract until 2010 the following season and was Fulham’s leading scorer with six goals as they avoided relegation and added another seven goals in the 2008/09 as the Cottagers secured a place in Europe.

After signing another new contract in the summer of 2009, Dempsey played a key role as the Cottagers marched all the way to the Europa League final — where they were beaten by Atletico Madrid.

He appeared in his second World Cup in South Africa in 2010, scoring an equaliser against England to become the second USA player to score in more than one World Cup.

He scored another 13 goals the following season before his finest season to date prompted much speculation over his future and after being linked with clubs all over Europe, it was Spurs who won the race for his signature.

Dempsey has had to be patient as Spurs have no shortage of midfield and forward options, but he is pleased with the way his career at White Hart Lane has started and insists there is more to come.

“My season is going OK. I’ve got six goals and I think five assists in all competitions now, so it’s starting to look better,” Dempsey said.

“I’m someone who likes to score or get assists so it’s good to be getting those stats up, contributing and trying to help this team do well. It’s going well but I still want to be better at what I’m doing.”

Dempsey is married to Bethany and they have a daughter named Elyse and a son called Jackson.

FACTFILE Name: Clint Dempsey Position: Midfielder Club: Tottenham DOB: 09/03/1983 USA caps: 91 USA goals: 30

Moment to remember: Scoring an EPL hat-trick for Fulham against Newcastle just two weeks after scoring an FA Cup hat-trick against Charlton.

Moment to forget: Fulham’s defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final in 2010.

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