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Stalteri settles at Spurs - CP article


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Stalteri settles at Spurs By NEIL DAVIDSON

Tuesday, August 9, 2005 Updated at 2:58 PM EDT

Canadian Press

Canadian international Paul Stalteri is healthy again, just in time for the kickoff of the English Premier League season Saturday.

Now with Tottenham Hotspur, the fullback-midfielder from Toronto has quietly become one of the most successful of the current crop of Canadian soccer players. Just 27, he has already won 50 caps for Canada.

Stalteri and striker Tomasz Radzinski (Fulham) will carry the Canadian colours in the Premier League this season.

A new challenge awaits Stalteri in north London where manager Martin Jol has fans and media pundits talking about Spurs, who finished ninth last season.

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Stalteri could have stayed at Werder Bremen, where he won both the German Cup and league title and became the first Canadian to play (along with Kevin McKenna) and score (in that Aug. 12, 2000 debut) in the Bundesliga.

But he elected to leave the club he joined in November 1997 when his contract expired. Stalteri knew another three or four-year deal at Bremen might mean he never get a chance to move to another club or outside Germany. Plus he had always wanted to play in England.

"I'm not a player who changes a lot of his routine so this is a big change for me, but it's also one I wanted, one I asked for and one I looked for at the end of last season," Stalteri said in an interview from England. "It's fantastic to prove yourself all over again and to show the people here what you can do. . . . Hopefully I can continue with the success I had in my career over there and bring a little bit over to the club here."

He seems to have chosen well.

Former England star Gary Lineker, now a Daily Telegraph columnist and TV personality, picks Tottenham to qualify for the Champions Leaguer.

The Sunday Times predicts Spurs will finish fifth, noting Stalteri "brings Bundesliga know-how to White Hart Lane."

Stalteri's teammates include the likes of England internationals Paul Robinson, Ledley King, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe, Dutch international Edgar Davids and Ireland's Robbie Keane.

His start at Spurs was slowed by a torn ligament in his ankle injury sustained the last day of the German season. He couldn't train with his new team until Aug. 1.

"I knew something was wrong. Ten minutes in, I couldn't continue," recalled Stalteri, who had previously escaped major injury during his career.

While he knew something was awry, he didn't expect to be out 10 weeks. As a result, Stalteri missed Spurs' trip to South Korea for the Peace Cup.

He waited it out, getting to know the medical staff at Spurs far better than he hoped. After resuming training, he started in Tottenham's 2-0 win over FC Porto last Saturday wearing No. 7, his trademark number.

Spurs open the season Saturday at Portsmouth.

Stalteri is comfortable several places on the pitch. Fullback was where he played mostly the last few seasons in Bremen, but he is equally at ease in midfield. Prior to going overseas, he played forward in Toronto for the Lynx.

No doubt part of his attraction is his versatility.

"They brought me in mostly to fill in the fullback role," he said of Spurs. "Whether it's the right or the left, probably mostly on the right. They also know I can play a number of different positions."

Wherever he plays, he will bring energy and pace. He will need it. Like all big clubs, Spurs have more than a few options on the bench.

Stalteri, however, is confident about how he will fit in.

"Competition is something that I'm used to in Bremen. Last year we had about five or six fullbacks for both positions. We'll just have to deal with it as it comes. Obviously they brought me in for a certain role and they know what they were getting."

On the national team front, Stalteri expects to keep playing for Canada. With the Premier League shutting down for international fixtures on certain days, his schedule should mesh well with that of the national team.

His preference playing for Canada is in the midfield.

"I think you can help the team a bit more playing more of a central role," he said.

He currently ranks 14th on the Canadian all-time caps list. His next appearance will tie him with Paul Peschisolido and the one after that will put him on a par with Canadian manager Frank Yallop.

Stalteri has long been a part of the Canadian set-up, making his debut for the under-17 side 12 years ago this month. He played for Canada at the 1993 world under-17 championship in Japan and was part of the under-20 team that made Canadian men's soccer history by reaching the second round of the World Youth Cup in 1997 in Malaysia.

Plus he helped Canada win the Gold Cup in 2000.

While soccer has taken Stalteri around the world, and earned him a four-year contract at Spurs, he knows it can be a fickle business. He has seen talented friends and teammates struggle to catch on.

"It is a great life, it is a great situation to play football and do something you love doing," he said. "But not every one has an easy time with it and can make an easy career out of it. It's a struggle day in, day out to continue to play at that level and find places that want you to play. So it's not the easiest thing, for sure."

Recent terrorist activity in London has also forced people to rethink things.

"We've been very fortunate not to come across any problems," said Stalteri, who married longtime girlfriend Christina four years ago. "But it's just part of living in a massive city, one of the biggest in the world. Unfortunately people target that because it's such a main attraction. It's definitely opened the eyes of a lot people here."

"We feel fine . . . we get along with our normal life every day and we'll continue to do that."

There are more Canadians on display in the League Championship, the division below the Premier League in England. Canadians there include Jason deVos and Jaime Peters (Ipswich), Jim Brennan (Norwich City), Marc Bircham (Queens Park Rangers), Josh Simpson and Adrian Serioux (Millwall) and Peschisolido (Derby County).

In League One, the old second division, watch for forward Iain Hume (Tranmere Rovers).

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quote:Originally posted by youllneverwalkalone

So why do we have to put up with Villa v. Bolton on Saturday? When Stalteri was in Germany Spurs were on every week. [}:)]

Funny you mention. Recently, I came accross a schedule of televised games this year. Don't recall on what site I saw it ( Rogers Sportsnet, i thing). But i noticed that Spurs are hardly (if ever) going to be shown. Might have saw one Spurs game list, if that. I hear ya!

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All Canadian soccer fans have got to be pleased with Stalteri playing a full 90 minutes in an EPL shut out away from home, particularly as Tottenham have not won on opening day since 2000. Given that they were without Ledley King I'll bet the Spurs brass are pleased too. One of the qualities Spurs liked about Stalteri was his ability to get forward in attacking situations on the flanks. Seems like he was in the thick of the action early on in the match report:

Report: Portsmouth 0, Spurs 2

13 Aug 2005 17:00

A first opening day success since August 2000 was secured with a 2-0 win at a rainy and windswept Fratton Park on Saturday.

An Andy Griffin own-goal resulting from a contest for the ball with Mido gave us the lead in first half stoppage time before Jermain Defoe effectively settled the encounter with a cool finish on 66 minutes.

The game was not as lop-sided as the scoreline might suggest and the balance of play was with Portsmouth for long periods. Gradually - very much boosted by the first goal - the boys managed to place a stranglehold on the play and looked more likely to score a third than Pompey to muster a reply.

Some of the rain that was delaying England's Ashes progress in Manchester must have made its way south and the new season was welcomed in with a shower as the players went about their warm-ups before kick-off.

There was a little possibility in the opening minute when a none too convincing header from John Viafara in the direction of Sander Westerveld nearly came up short and Defoe was close to latching onto it. Three minutes in Stalteri and Tainio combined to present Routledge with a clear chance in front goal that Westerveld did very well to fend away. It should have been a goal though.

Pompey built up a head of steam as the game reached the 15-minute mark and there were a few little exchanges involving Gregory Vignal, which served to heat up the atmosphere. Laurent Robert was getting into his stride and, from his corner, a Lua Lua flick would have only needed a slight diversion to find its way into our net.

A combination between Richard Hughes and Vignal led to Ivicta Mornar nearly being presented with a chance in front of goal on 28 minutes before Defoe had a chance to open our account two minutes later but he did not attach any power to his shot from 18 yards.

There was certainly more urgency about the home side in terms of attempting to break the deadlock but, against the run of play, we took an advantage into half-time. Tainio played the ball in towards Mido who cushioned it in the direction of Defoe before making a run for the return pass. A coming together with Andy Griffin followed in front of goal and the ball trickled into the net past the stranded Westerveld.

Portsmouth went straight back into pressing mode at the beginning of the second half and a speculative low drive from Vignal that had Paul Robinson scrambling was the closest they came to levelling in the first five minutes.

Chances followed for both Mido and Routledge to pick a decisive pass from a wide position that would lead to a likely goal, but on both occasions the option selected did not bring reward.

Reward did come along on 66 minutes when Mido did pick his pass well and found the run of Defoe down the left channel who rounded Westerveld in a flash and steered the ball goalwards to make it 2-0 and pretty much game over.

From our very cramped vantage point, you felt particularly pleased for the travelling Spurs fans housed in the open end at Fratton Park. They must have been drenched but spirits were not dampened and the home support was suitably drowned out right through to the final whistle.

 

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Well Spurs fans are already impressed with Stalteri it seems.

I looked over at the spurs rival board. As some of you might know, Stalteri will probably be battling with Kelly for the Right Back spot, which seems to be Stalteri's for the time being.

DHead Posted on 14/8 12:39 Email this Message | Reply

re: Kelly

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Jol must think Stalteri is better or more experienced. I think we'll be seeing a lot of Kelly as the season goes on.

gdp1 Posted on 14/8 12:35 Email this Message | Reply

Think Stalteri will probably get the nod ...

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.. in most games, hadn't seen him before but he's an experienced player and as much as I like Kelly, he's not the finished article yet - he'll still get his chances and be a regular fixture in the squad

dutchspur Posted on 14/8 12:36 Email this Message | Reply

re: Think Stalteri will probably get the nod

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I was well impressed with Stalterie..

I've always been doing some research on Tottenham fansites where there are articles/forums. Here are some more comments...

"the Canadian full back from Werder Bremen, Paul Stalteri, who looked as solid as maple." -

http://www.thfclatest2.com/pompeya130805.htm

"Stalteri sounds solid." - Sam on http://www.thfclatest2-matchreports.com

Also here is a thread about Paul Stalteri on a fan site... 2 pages about him...

http://www.thfc1882.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4921

If you're too lazy to click it, then I'll give you some examples of posts...

"I tell u what,this bloke is going to be our first choice right back this season.

He looked brilliant yesterday imo.Great tackler and gets forward down the right wing better than Kelly.Infact our wing play is finally looking good again-Reid and especially Routledge were flying yesterday"

"Stalteri looked keen to get stuck in which is a positive point, didn't do too much wrong at all. I think with the international/top level experience he has, Martin is likely to pick him ahead of Kelly, but I wouldn't be surprised if he mixed it up wherever possible."

"I liked Stalteri a lot, mostly because in the first minute he flew in for a tackle."

"Stalteri looked useful but a bit suspect in the air against the Porto lads who he had a good foot on in height. On the ball he looked damn good and im happy to see him at the Lane. Competition is what it's all about now with the new squad and im VERY happy to see Pamarot, Kelly and Stalteri all fight it out for that place in the lilywhite shirt at right back.

Call me pissed or insane but this could be our best season for years...

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