Caulker anticipating 'big year' at Spurs
Tottenham defender Steven Caulker is excited about the prospect of fighting for a place in the first-team at White Hart Lane and is determined to impress new manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Caulker, 20, has only made one appearance for Spurs - a 4-1 Carling Cup loss to Arsenal in 2010 - and has spent the past few seasons out on loan in a bid to aid his development.
The England Under-21 centre-back has enjoyed season-long spells at Yeovil, Bristol City and most recently Swansea, where his impressive displays did not go unnoticed.
Caulker was rewarded with a new four-year contract at Spurs last month and was also called up the Great Britain squad for the 2012 Olympic games.
Having been at Tottenham since he was 15 years old, he is now ready to make his mark at White Hart Lane under Villas-Boas, who has challenged the young defender to challenge for a regular starting berth.
"There have been times over the years I've forgotten I was a Spurs player," Caulker said. "Obviously you're representing a team at that time, but my heart lies with Tottenham and after the games, I was always looking out for their result.
"They've had a good few seasons and hopefully this season we can carry that forward. The longest I've spent there is between two or three months, when I've had injuries.
"I'm looking forward to going back and getting a feel for the players. Signing the new deal before this was a weight off my mind. This is the start of a big year for me, with the Olympics and then heading back to the Spurs. I'll hopefully get an opportunity and I'll take it.
"Of course you want the chance of impressing the manager, but I had a chat with him and understood his plans and I think when I am back, it's down to me to impress him."
With Ryan Nelsen recently released, William Gallas reportedly set to leave the club and Ledley King retiring, Caulker is expected to challenge Younes Kaboul, Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen for a place in Villas-Boas' starting central defensive partnership.