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Stalteri Interview from Local Paper

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Quick learner Stalteri makes up lost time

09 September 2005

Patrick Mooney

PAUL Stalteri is thrilled with his Premiership start for Spurs.

The Canadian international, who was Martin Jol's first summer signing from Werder Bremen, has effortlessly slotted into the right-back role for Tottenham, despite missing all of the club's pre-season through injury.

Stalteri's solid defending and marauding runs in the Lilywhites' opening four Premiership games of the season have seen him cement his place at full back.

"I'm pretty satisfied with my start considering I didn't have a pre-season to get games under my belt and time to get to know my team-mates as quickly as I would have liked," Stalteri told Ham&High Sport.

"Yet I think I've adopted well and hopefully in the next few weeks I can work some more on my fitness and get myself going for the next part of the season."

Jol swooped for the 27-year-old Stalteri to add Bundesliga know-how to the young Spurs defence - and the Canadian is happy to play that role as well.

"One of the reasons the manager brought me in was to lend a bit of experience to the younger players," explained Stalteri. "I hope I can bring a solid game and put the team first before my own performance.

"I take a lot of pride in helping the team to keep a clean sheet as well as getting forward as much as I can. But the bottom line is that the team comes first before any individual."

The Canadian was instrumental in helping Spurs to clean sheets in their opening three games before the 2-0 home defeat against Chelsea - the last game before the break for World Cup qualifiers. "Chelsea are a top class team but until Mido's sending off we played just as well as them, if not better," he said.

"Then we let in a goal from a set-piece and I think had we got to half time 0-0 we might have had a chance to nick a point. But Chelsea are so organised. It was always going to be difficult to score against them with 11 players, never mind 10."

Stalteri was forced to miss most of pre-season, including the club's successful tour of South Korea where they won the Peace Cup, because of an ankle injury. Yet, such was his determination and drive, he was fit for Spurs' last pre-season friendly against FC Porto.

"Because of my injury I trained mostly on my own at Spurs Lodge in pre-season until the squad came back from Korea," he said. "I'd only trained a few days with the players before the Porto game but I thought we did pretty well."

The Canadian feels he has adjusted to the pace of the Premiership and added: "Both the Bundesliga and the Premiership are quality leagues.

"The football in the Premier is a little quicker at times than over in Germany but I think I have adapted pretty well."

Off the field Stalteri has also settled in well. "I'd been to England a number of times, so it was not too much of a culture shock," he said.

"It's obviously much easier for my wife and myself to come to an English- speaking country. We've found a place to live already and I always thought that would be the most important thing.

"I'd also been a fan of the English league for a number of years as it was always one of the ones they showed most on Canadian television. Even when I was playing in Germany, the Premiership was always on. I've always wanted to play in England and I think at this stage of my career it is the right time to try it out."

There is no doubt that Stalteri brings the winning mentality that Jol wants to spread to his young squad. He is used to winning trophies and last season played in the Champions League following a Bundesliga and German Cup double with Bremen in 2004.

Now, Stalteri wants a return to the European stage with Spurs. "It is a definite target for us," he said. "Last season the team was only a couple of wins away from achieving it. We want to improve on last year as a team and this season our goal has to be to get one of those Uefa Cup places - and bring European football back to the Lane."


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