Former Tottenham Hotspur left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, now playing for French outfit AS Saint-Etienne, has revealed to Le Progres how he is enjoying his football once again after finally being released from his Spurs contract in February of this year.
Assou-Ekotto joined Tottenham in 2006 from Lens, and stayed at White Hart Lane for nine years (via a loan spell at Queens Park Rangers), but ended up desperate to leave the club after falling out of favour, with Danny Rose and Ben Davies ultimately preferred in his position.
Nevertheless, Assou-Ekotto became something of a cult figure at Spurs, admired by supporters for his always cool demeanour and interests away from the football pitch.
However, in an interview with the French press, Assou-Ekotto took a dig at his former club by revealing that he is already happier back in France, only weeks after signing for Saint-Etienne.
“Saint-Etienne, it’s a family club, and that is something I didn’t have in England,” he told local newspaper Le Progres.
“When I arrived, we had a barbecue with all the players from the team, spouses and children. Here’s it’s normal. I didn’t do that once in nine years at Tottenham.”
Assou-Ekotto also showered his new supporters with praise, who regularly turn up to watch club training sessions whatever the weather.
“I knew of (the enthusiastic support) during my time at Lens, a similar region to the one here, on a sociologic and humane level. Having fans at training really touched me.
“I asked my teammates: ’40 degrees and they’re here to see us train?’, they answered: ‘Don’t worry, they’ll be there when it’s -5 too.’ Overall, it’s a pleasant change in my career.”