Paulinho unfazed by Spurs rotation role
Tottenham midfielder Paulinho insists that he is not concerned about his failure to hold down a regular spot in the starting lineup and says he is determined to prove his worth to Spurs manager Tim Sherwood.
The Brazil international moved to White Hart Lane in July for a then club-record fee of 17.5 million pounds but a series of injuries and the emergence of academy talent Nabil Bentaleb have restricted his first-team appearances in recent weeks.
With the World Cup just around the corner and his place in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s national squad under scrutiny, it would be understandable for the 25-year-old to be frustrated with a lack of first-team action. However, Paulinho insists that he is prepared to adapt to European football.
“You are told before coming to Europe that big teams here quite often rotate players. I have to respect this culture but it is instinctive for me to get annoyed if I don’t play every game.
“I always want to be on the pitch, much as I know it is my first season here and how difficult it is for a South American player to adapt to the demands of the Premier League.”
Paulinho is no stranger to setbacks in football and the Brazilian admits that he has considered giving up the sport -- firstly, as a youngster in Sao Paulo when he was forced to travel for hours across the city for training and again as a 17-year-old where he suffered racial abuse in Lithuania before an unsuccessful stint in Poland.
“I went through a lot of difficult times,” he recalled. “I am used to going through really hard things. I almost retired in 2008, when I came back from Poland. I was not happy with the way it was going.”
However, Paulinho admits that any thoughts of throwing in the towel were ended by an honest conversation with his wife Barbara.
“She told me not to give up on football,” he added. “She said my family had supported me so much, that they had given me so much and worked so hard so that I could achieve my dream that it would show a lack of respect to them to give up.
“She told me I only knew how to play football, that I did not know how to do anything else in life. She was the main motivation for keeping on going.”
And while Paulinho admits that Tottenham’s performances have not been good enough this season, he insists that the players are determined to put things right.
"The manager and the fans have the right to be upset at the team," he said. "A team like ours should not have been routed in those games. But the players know it. It's just important we stand together at the bad times too.
“I can assure you nobody at the club will be happy if we fail to qualify for the Champions League. One of the reasons I came to this club was to help them play at the top level."
Despite Paulinho’s spot in the national team coming under pressure from the likes of Manchester City’s Fernandinho, Brazil technical director Carlos Alberto Parreira believes that the Tottenham workhorse can still be a pivotal figure for the Selecao.
"We obviously take into account what happens to a player at his club, but the most important is how they have behaved while at national team duty. Paulinho has been instrumental for us and we fully trust him to keep doing his job for Brazil," he said.