Bentaleb on earning his Spurs: I will fight for this club

The Algerian international is determined to keep improving at Tottenham, and is taking nothing for granted.

It is hard to believe that this time last year, Nabil Bentaleb was preparing for another season of Under 21 football for Tottenham.

Held up as a promising midfielder by Andre Villas-Boas and then Head of Football Development Tim Sherwood, he was in and around the first team as the season progressed, only to be given his debut once Sherwood took open from the departed Portuguese.

Since then, it is fair to say he hasn't looked back, making 20 appearances for Spurs after his first game away to Southampton.

Often drawing criticism when he was selected by Sherwood, it is telling that new boss Mauricio Pochettino also plumped for the youngster in his first game last weekend at Upton Park, and it is easy to forget that at just 19-years-old, the kind of performances he put in during the 1-0 win, and at times last year, are of a far more experienced individual.

Speaking to Spurs TV the Algerian international was eager to keep his feet on the ground, speaking chiefly of getting minutes under his belt in games such as the upcoming Europa League match with AEL Limassol.

"It's [the Europa League] a good competition to get more minutes and get some experience," Bentlaeb said.

"We'll see how we go this year and we're gonna go to try and win it again.

"It gets you more confident, it helps you grow as a man and as a player, it gets you in the big competition because this is a European competition and I think it's really important."

Tasting regular top flight football hasn't dulled Bentaleb's desire to improve though, with the player showing impressive focus to stay in the new manager's plans.

"Last season was an amazing season for me. I have to keep working hard and keep my head down.

"Some people say it is hardest to get in the team, it's even harder to stay in the team, to keep your place.

"I will fight for the club, I'll do anything. I'm ready for the season."

The midfielder didn't stop at breaking into the Spurs team in 2014, he also went to the World Cup finals in Brazil with Algeria, featuring in every game as the African side qualified for the knockout stages for the first time in their history.

"The World Cup was amazing and a really great experience for me," he added. 

"It's the biggest competition, you play against the biggest teams and on the biggest stage. It is a big responsibility."

But after heading back from Brazil, the former Lille youth was quick to emphasise just how important Tottenham's opening day derby win was, especially considering the red card that was given to fullback Kyle Naughton midway through the first half.

"It was amazing," the midfielder beamed. "To start the season with a London derby. To win it in the last seconds with ten men.

"We showed really good team spirit, and we showed that we were up for the fight."

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