Friday, January 25, 2008


An article in the Daily Mail

Ramos sees Jenas as the Lampard of White Hart Lane

There may be no love lost between Tottenham and Chelsea, but Spurs manager Juande Ramos is using their rival's model for success to make Jermaine Jenas realise his massive potential.

The two clubs will meet at Wembley in the Carling Cup Final next month and observers may be forgiven for thinking that the two team's use similar tactics.

For Ramos has taken one look at Jenas's impressive fitness and finishing ability to believe that the 24-year-old can be the Frank Lampard of White Hart Lane.

Spurs fans have never taken kindly to Lampard, but his goalscoring and assists record for Chelsea is one of the finest in Europe and Ramos feels Jenas can provide a similar threat for his side.

Of all the players who have thrived under the Spaniard since he took over in October, Jenas seems to be the most rejuvenated.

The midfielder has divided many supporters since he joined from Newcastle for £7million in 2005, with some questioning whether he performs enough in the big matches against the better teams.

But in Spurs' 5-1 win over Arsenal in midweek he not only scored the crucial opening goal, he was also the best player on the pitch and his form over the last three months has been impressive.

On Sunday he will face an even stiffer test when he comes up against Spurs old boy Michael Carrick as Tottenham take on Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Most of the credit for Jenas's improved consistency has been linked to the new strict diet and fitness regime, and Ramos's admiration for Lampard's achievements has helped bring about the biggest change in his performances on the pitch.

A club insider said: "The big difference is that Juande sees him as the Frank Lampard of the team and has told him to concentrate on getting forward more and not worry so much about the defensive part of his game.

"If you notice he is playing a lot closer to Robbie Keane on the pitch now and is getting in more advanced positions on a regular basis. Lampard has thrived on having Claude Makelele playing deep in midfield so he can concentrate on scoring and setting up goals and, while Spurs have no-one like Makelele at the club, Teemu Tainio played the positionagainst Arsenal and it worked to great affect.

"Juande thinks Jenas should score a lot of goals for the club and has made him concentrate on doing what he does best."

It is partly because of Lampard that Jenas's England ambitions have yet to be realised and he has not even been in the squad since he was dropped by previous coach Steve McClaren for the friendly against Germany last August.

The decision hurt deeply at the time, but his professional attitude meant he was already employing a strong work ethic to turn his fortunes around before Ramos arrived at White Hart Lane.

It is something that has not gone unnoticed, with Ramos even telling friends in Spain of Jenas being a great example to the rest of the squad.

A source in Spain said: "Juande is happy with him. He works very hard in training and is improving every day. He is in such good form that many people think he can get in the England squad again. He is fitter than ever and is playing very well.

"The way he ran hard and maintained his performance against Arsenal for 90 minutes is exactly what Juande and his coaching team want to achieve.

"He is a good player and a good professional. When you train well, you love your football and that is the case for him. They have already built up a great understanding and Jenas knows what Juande wants."

The timing of Jenas's renaissance couldn't be better, with new England coach Fabio Capello naming his first England squad next Thursday for the friendly against Switzerland on 6 February.

The Italian has seen a few of Tottenham's games since he was given the post last month including the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Arsenal where Jenas also stood out.

Striker Robbie Keane is in no doubt that it is time for his team-mate and friend to be rewarded with a recall to the national team.

He said: "Jermaine has made a massive impact, his whole play has been getting better every week. Fabio Capello has been watching some of our games and he can't ignore that.

"I just hope people appreciate what a good player he is. There are many top-class midfielders in the country, but over the last year Jermaine is right up there with them and there is no reason why he can't be part of Capello's plans."

Another good performance at Old Trafford on Sunday will surely see him back in the England fold and Jenas himself says he has never been in better shape.

He said: "I feel this is the best football I've played in my career. I feel very confident. The manager has come in and he's got that experience of winning semi-finals and finals. It helped us against Arsenal and gave us an edge.

"We're going to Old Trafford and it's not an easy place to go but we go there full of confidence."

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