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The Toe Poke

Transfer Rater: Mertens to Chelsea

Football Whispers

Assou-Ekotto ready to fight for place

Benoit Assou-Ekotto has played down fears that he will struggle to reclaim his place in the Tottenham starting XI after returning from injury.

• Blog: Spurs get what they deserve

The defender continued his return after four months out in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday but, in his absence, Kyle Naughton has helped Spurs put together a consistent run of form and consolidate fourth place in the Premier League table.

Naughton, though, is primarily right-footed, and Assou-Ekotto believes that gives him an advantage when it comes to earning a place back in the team.

"He's not a real left-back and I don't think he has the same left foot as me, so I'm not worried about that," he said. "I'm not worried because obviously I can do stuff with my left foot that he can't do."

Assou-Ekotto has found it tough to reacclimatise after his spell on the sidelines but, as he gradually feels his way back into the team, he has impressed with some solid displays first in the FA Cup win against Coventry and then in the final 30 minutes against United, when he produced a cross that led to Clint Dempsey's equalising goal.

"To come back in the Premier League is quite hard because it's high-tempo, but sometimes it's easier to play against Manchester United than against a team in the bottom half," he added. "I think it was a good game to come back in. My cross was okay."

Spurs are in good shape as they chase a return to Champions League football and are seven points ahead of rivals Arsenal. The Gunners actually overturned a ten-point lead to finish above them last season, but Assou-Ekotto believes they should focus on their own form rather than that of their rivals.

"I don't care, and I think we shouldn't care about the other teams," he said. "We have to be focused only on ourselves, and have a target not to lose any games. The point against United might be important at the end of the season."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.


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