‘When you stay a long time in the same place it means you become a part of this club’: Harry Kane is to Tottenham what Lionel Messi is to Barcelona, says Clement Lenglet… as he brands his Spurs team-mate ‘an amazing example for all his teammates’
- Clement Lenglet joined Tottenham on loan from Barcelona over the summer
- He has struggled to establish himself, but is expected to play against Newcastle
- The defender compared Harry Kane to his former teammate Lionel Messi
- He spoke of the ‘connections’ both players formed with their clubs
To Clement Lenglet’s mind, Lionel Messi will always be a Barcelona player. Whatever he achieves at Paris Saint-Germain, however many goals he scores, however many trophies he wins, the connection between Messi and Barcelona will remain.
That same bond exists, says Lenglet, between Tottenham and Harry Kane, wherever the England striker may end up.
‘When you stay a long time in the same place and you achieve so many good things with the club it means you become a part of this club,’ says Spurs defender Lenglet, on loan from Barcelona. ‘Your face is connected to the club. For me, Messi is always a Barca player.
Clement Lenglet joined Tottenham on loan from Barcelona over the summer
‘For Harry it’s the same. It’s difficult to think of Harry in another country or playing for another team. Tottenham is a big club, Harry is a big player and Harry is a big part of Tottenham. We speak a lot about the player and that’s important because we are players but I give the same importance to what he is like as a guy. He is an amazing example for all his teammates.’
Lenglet describes playing alongside Messi as ‘beautiful’. ‘You play with the greatest player in the world in my opinion. He helps you improve every day. I played with him (for Barcelona) and against him for Sevilla – it’s better with him!
The centre-back joined Spurs in the summer after falling out of favour under Xavi at Barcelona. He’s not enjoyed the best of beginnings under Antonio Conte, really, having started just three Premier League games all season ahead of Sunday’s clash with Newcastle.
He compared Harry Kane to Lionel Messi for the ‘connections’ they have with their clubs
Even so, Lenglet insists it’s been the best move for him and a 30-minute conversation with Conte that persuaded him.
‘We spoke about a lot of things. He told me if I came here I would improve because the league is so competitive, you have to be ready and focused every game. He said if I came here I would be happy because I would progress as a football player and it has been a good decision.’
His main issue has been the language. He says he only spoke ‘a few words’ when he arrived. But he’s getting there, he says. ‘It’s a different culture, a different way to work. I was in Spain for six years. You work one way, you think one way, the football is the same. Now, you come to England – a different league, different intensity, different way to work. It’s a good way to improve.’
Lenglet supported PSG as a child, growing up just around the corner from their training ground. He’d go with his dad Sebastien to watch training on Wednesdays when he didn’t have school. He’d hunt for autographs, and still treasures a signed shirt by Ronaldinho.
Lenglet felt Messi has ‘become part of the club’ at Barcelona despite leaving for PSG
‘I was really young, like eight or nine. You want to be like him but you also know it’s very difficult to be Ronaldinho. His talent was amazing, it was beautiful to watch him on television and even better in reality. But I became a defender instead because my quality wasn’t the same!’
Lenglet is expected to come into the starting line-up on Sunday as Tottenham look to bounce back from their defeat to Manchester United.
Spurs were dreadful that day, penned in by a vibrant United team. That’s where they’ve struggled, against their ‘Big Six’ rivals, with points also dropped against Chelsea and Arsenal.
The French defender is expected to start for Tottenham against Newcastle on Sunday
‘We struggle against these types of teams,’ Lenglet admits. ‘We have to improve on that to be a top team. That’s the next step. That’s how we’re working, on being better in these games because for me that’s the next step towards being a really, really good team.’
Lenglet confirmed his loan move did not include an option for Spurs to make the move permanent and said it was too early to think about whether it’s something he wants to pursue. He also insists his Barcelona journey is not finished yet.
‘In the contract, we don’t have an option,’ he said. ‘But we are in October. It’s the beginning of the season and we have to wait before thinking about this. I have to be good on the pitch, to help the team on the pitch. Maybe if everything is okay, we will speak. But at the moment it’s too early.’