Tanguy Ndombele’s Tottenham career rescued by Daniel Levy’s gentle touch … and the Frenchman enjoys life under the ‘really nice boy’ Nuno Espirito Santo
- Tanguy Ndombele has credited Daniel Levy for helping him settle into the Spurs
- The Tottenham midfielder initially struggled to find his best form for the club
- José Mourinho gave Ndombele a tough affection during his time at the helm
- But the Frenchman enjoys his football and plays with his new coach.
Daniel Levy is rarely praised for his emotional intelligence, but if the Spurs are seeing the best of Tanguy Ndombele now, it may well have a lot to do with their president. Towards the end of his first season, in 2020, the club’s record £ 53 million signing was called in to watch Levy.
Levy got straight to the point. ‘Tell me, tell me the story of why isn’t it working?’ said the president. Little by little, Levy and player liaison officer Roberto Balbontin cajoled and cheered on the young Frenchman. “I’m not concentrating like I should,” admitted Ndombele. “I’m not 100 percent.”
Levy’s more fatherly side is evident when he tells Ndombele that he was dropped out of school at 16, but that he was determined to get the best grades and get to college, which he did. Levy attended Cambridge University, although admittedly he doesn’t say that at the meeting, which was part of the Amazon Prime documentary behind the scenes at the Spurs.
Tanguy Ndombele is finding his footing as a Tottenham player, two years after coming to the club
Daniel Levy played an important role in listening to the difficulties that French was having
“I am a fighter,” Ndombele replied. I have always fought. I am here today because I fought. I have never given up in life or in football. ”
Initially shunned by Nantes at age 12, Ndombele continued to play for local clubs in the Parisian suburb of Epinay-sous-Senart before moving to Brittany at 14 to train at Guingamp, where Didier Drogba had made a name for himself. He then moved to Amiens, just as they were promoted to Ligue 1, and was later picked up by Lyon, where he earned a reputation as the next dominant midfielder to emerge from France, which convinced Spurs to sign him.
Since then, the trajectory has stabilized somewhat. However, towards the end of José Mourinho’s reign at Spurs and certainly last Sunday in the 3-2 win at Newcastle, signs of that dominant midfielder are emerging.
“It’s true that I had that meeting with the president,” said Ndombele, who faces West Ham today. Maybe if I’m still at Tottenham today it’s thanks to that meeting. If a president sees something that he is not happy with, it is normal for him to want to talk to the player about it. It was a good reunion. I listened to what he had to say and he listened to me too. ‘
Ndombele enjoys playing with Nuno Espirito Santo and his more relaxed management
Perhaps the lowest point of his time in England was the unique mark of Mourinho’s tough love he experienced at Burnley, where he was substituted at half-time and then pointed out by the coach. Mourinho always insisted that Ndombele had the talent to succeed and accepted that the first season could be difficult. However, she still expected more from him and Ndombele did not hold a grudge against him.
“I am very happy that people are telling the truth about me,” he said. “It was difficult at first, but over time we got along much better. With any manager, if I don’t like the way they treat me, I’ll say so. At the end of the day, each coach will have their own style. ‘ That said, the quieter and less showy Nuno Espirito Santo could suit him better. “Nuno is a very nice guy, but he’s a bit calmer and keeps to himself,” Ndombele said.
His career has been compared to French suburban Parisian midfielders who have thrived in the Premier League, from Patrick Vieira to the most recent phenomenon, N’Golo Kante. However, playing in a more advanced position, more like a number 10, this past weekend he showed his versatility and offensive nature. It can clearly play the role of link between defense and attack, number 8.
“I’m happy to play and adapt to whatever position I’m in,” he said. “I like to play as a team and we take risks with the ball.”
If the Spurs are starting to find their feet, Ndombele appears to be key for the future.
The 24-year-old hopes to consistently produce exciting football for Tottenham.