We pick a Tottenham Hotspur XI with some players you may have - or wished you had - forgotten signed for the club.
After a set of eye-catching performances in the 2002 Concacaf Gold Cup, Calgary Storm goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld earned a move to the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur. The Canadian stopper was sent on-loan to Luton Town and Gillingham, before being sold to Dundee United in 2004, without making a single appearance for Spurs.
In 2003, Mbulelo Mabizela became the latest South African to join the Premier League, following in the footsteps of Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish and Shaun Bartlett. However, the fullback didn’t settle into the English game as well as his fellow countrymen. Mabizela, who scored on his debut against Leicester City, had his contract cancelled after just seven appearances due to disciplinary problems.
Mabizela isn’t the only South African to make this XI. Bongani Khumalo arrived at White Hart Lane from SuperSport United in 2011, but was promptly sent out on-loan to Preston North End. This would become the story of Khumalo’s appearance-less Spurs career, as he had temporary deals with Reading, PAOK, Doncaster Rovers and Colchester United, until he was eventually released in 2015.
Khumalo’s defensive partner in this XI also spent a chunk of his Tottenham career out on loan. Up-and-coming defender Callum Davenport signed from Coventry City in 2004, only to be sent out on loan to West Ham United. Davenport had further spells with Norwich City and Southampton, but failed to win a place in the Spurs’ first-team upon his return. After making just 19 appearances in three years at Tottenham, Davenport returned to West Ham on a permanent basis.
Some Tottenham supporters may have been excited when they heard Harry Redknapp had secured the signature of a Brazilian named Gilberto. Little did they know, this Gilberto was nothing like the World Cup winner who played for their North London rivals. Spurs’ Gilberto, a signing from Hertha BSC, endured a nightmare few months at the club, including three occasions when he was hauled off at half-time.
The wingers in this XI are Milenko Acimovic and Emil Hallfredsson. The former arrived at Tottenham with a fantastic goalscoring record in Serbian football with Red Star Belgrade, but failed miserably to carry that form into English football. Perhaps the most memorable moment of Acimovic’s goalless spell at Spurs was his remarkable miss in the 3-2 defeat to Fulham.
Hallfredsson signed for Spurs in 2005 after an impressive start to his professional career with Icelandic side Fimleikafelag Hafnarfjaroar. However, the left-sided midfielder, who was recently part of the Iceland 2016 European Championship side that knocked out England, didn’t make it onto the pitch during his two years at the club.
Jonathan Blondel was signed by Glenn Hoddle in the same transfer window as Acimovic, but made even less of an impact at White Hart Lane. The Belgian was restricted to two cameos off the bench, amounting to 37 minutes of football, in two years before he was sold to Club Brugge.
He is joined in the centre of midfield by Kazuyuki Toda, who arrived at Tottenham on-loan from Japanese side Shimizu S-Pulse. Toda, an integral part of Japan’s 2002 World Cup squad, will be better remembered for his red hair than his performances on the field, as he left Spurs after four underwhelming outings.
The strike force of Grzegorz Rasiak and Mounir El Hamdaoui complete this XI. Tottenham sealed a last-gasp transfer deadline day deal to sign Rasiak from Derby County. The Polish striker would prove to be a regrettable choice after he failed to find the back of the net in his nine games for the club. Rasiak would be loaned to Southampton before making the move permanent at the end of the season.
El Hamdaoui set the Dutch league alight with his goals for Excelsior, but that wouldn’t help the Moroccan international break into a Spurs team featuring the likes of Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Mido. The young striker lasted just a year in English football but he would be linked with a return to the Premier League later on in his career. In 2010, the Mirror reported that Chelsea were interested in a £17million deal to sign El Hamdaoui when he was turning heads at Ajax.
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