The 21-year-old was beginning to establish himself in the Spurs defence after an eye-catching debut performance against Liverpool in January. Although the campaign has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, that hasn’t stopped Tanganga from dreaming big and looking ahead.
Japhet Tanganga Targets England Call-Up Following Breakout Season
Setting International Sights
The prospect of coming up against Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane is daunting for any defender. Even more so for a defender that is playing out of position, and on their Premier League debut. That was exactly what happened to Japhet Tanganga, who more than held his own against the league leaders. Since being dropped into the lion’s den, Tanganga has gone from strength to strength. He has featured in a further nine games for Spurs in all competitions.
Tanganga’s versatility has seen him be deployed across the Spurs backline while looking comfortable in the process. During the season’s pause, the young defender’s attention now turns to the next step in his career.
“In life you have to have goals and one of my goals is to be capped at senior level for England,” Tanganga said. “For me, all I can do is what I can on the pitch and leave it with the England manager to select me.
“All I’m doing at the moment is following the guidelines and waiting for the government to decide when we can go back to football or not. Right now, that’s all I’m focusing on.
“Like I said, in life, you have to have ambitions and one of my goals is to get capped at senior level for England.”
Jose Mourinho’s Influence
Tanganga will rightly soak the praise for his own rise. However, he will no doubt owe a lot of that to his manager. Jose Mourinho made a big call to hand the youngster his debut against the league leaders. And while the result ultimately didn’t favour Spurs, Mourinho provided a springboard into launching Tanganga’s career in senior football.
“He has taught me a lot. In training he’s given me a lot of information, a lot of details, a lot of ways to improve.
“How to defend one v one, how to defend set-pieces or work in wide areas and at corners. He’s given me a lot of information and I feel playing right-back and left-back has added to my game and allowed me to be adaptable and defend in all areas of the pitch, not just at centre-half.”