Mauricio Pochettino has attempted to play down Danny Rose’s recent comments about Tottenham Hotspur’s lack of ambition in the transfer market, and reminded the full-back that the likes of Dele Alli and Eric Dier were relative unknowns before they developed into superstars at White Hart Lane.
England international Rose was forced to apologise to the club in a statement published shortly before Pochettino’s pre-season press conference, after he gave an interview in which he attacked Tottenham’s rigid pay structure and careful transfer strategy.
Rose told The Sun on the eve of the new Premier League season that “I know my worth and I will make sure I get my worth,” as well as imploring the board to sign “world-class players” and “not players you have to google and say, ‘who’s that?’”
The 27-year-old added that he would consider offers to leave Tottenham and that he wants to return “back up north” before he retires.
Pochettino has however reminded Rose that some of Tottenham’s most successful players were signed by the club while still relatively unknown.
“When we signed players like Eric Dier, nobody knew, or Dele Alli who was playing in League One. They are internationals today,” Pochettino said.
“I don’t think it’s a matter to joke about because some of the international players today, maybe one or two years ago, none of us knew them very well.
“Also when I first arrived here, people wanted to know who Mauricio Pochettino was, too. If you remember five years ago, people said ‘who is Pochettino?’ I am sure that they used Google Chrome or Yahoo to find out.”
Rose apologised for his comments less than 24 hours after the interview was published, claiming: “Having had time to consider my actions, I acknowledge now that the timing and manner of what I said was ill-judged.
“My words were not meant to offend and for that I would like to apologise to the chairman, manager, my team-mates and the fans. I’d also like to wish the lads good luck ahead of Sunday’s game against Newcastle.”
His apology came hot on the heels of a number of reports claiming that Rose’s departure could provide a mass exodus of Tottenham’s best players, who would all stand to earn considerably more away from north London.
But Pochettino was at pains to stress that the matter was not resolved, with Rose’s inflammatory comments not indicative of a wider problem within the dressing room.
“You need to understand that Rose gave his opinion,” Pochettino said. “You can judge the situation because if he apologised for what he said we do not know if he is now thinking the same thing or not. But it is him – not the team.
“I am relaxed because when you see the team and the players they are so focused. We were focused from the beginning of pre-season to challenge and try again to prepare ourselves to compete in a very tough league. When you see the team so relaxed, calm and focused for the game on Sunday, I feel how can I be nervous?”
Rose’s comments came at the end of a troubled pre-season for the club. Not only have Spurs been able to make any signings ahead of their opening game away to Newcastle on Sunday, but their first-choice right-back – Kieran Trippier – suffered an injury in their final warm up game against Juventus.
The club yesterday confirmed that the defender had suffered “minor ligament damage”, meaning he will miss the match against Newcastle. The 20-year-old academy product Kyle Walker-Peters is the only other natural right-back in Tottenham’s squad, but Pochettino suggested in his pre-match conference that he could turn to Moussa Sissoko instead.
“I was happy with his performance against Juventus and he will have the possibility to play [against Newcastle],” Pochettino said of the Frenchman, who endured a difficult debut campaign at Spurs after moving to the club from Newcastle in a £30m deadline day deal.