Tottenham's Serge Aurier: 'Now is my time' to prove myself to everyone
LOS ANGELES -- Serge Aurier is determined to take advantage of Kieran Trippier's absence from Tottenham Hotspur's preseason training and impress manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Trippier, an England international, will join up with his teammates after a holiday following the World Cup, giving Aurier an extended audition.
"I start now and Tripps is coming afterwards," said Aurier, who joined Spurs from Paris Saint-Germain at the transfer deadline a year ago. "It was the same for me [last season]. Now is my time.
"At the moment, I have to take my chance because the season is long. If I play good, the gaffer has a choice. If I don't play good, that is football. But for now, Trippier is on holiday and, for me, it's my moment to take my chance."
Aurier said he sent Trippier a message congratulating him on his World Cup achievements.
Now, the defender, who won the Ligue 1 title with PSG in 2015 and 2016, believes Tottenham are capable of challenging for the Premier League crown -- and he is determined to play a full part.
"I left Paris Saint-Germain for a new challenge," Aurier said. "I came, I finished third. It was OK, but this season is not the same because I have a good ambition for the future.
"The Premier League is not the same as the French league. It's been a big change for me, but I have the team that [can] finish first. I don't know [if we can], but I believe and all the guys believe in the new project at the new stadium."
Aurier made his Tottenham debut in the Champions League victory against Borussia Dortmund on Sept. 13 and made 24 appearances in all competitions last season.
"Playing more games is important for me," he said. "When I'm ready, this season is better, more normal. I know the Premier League, I know the players, all the people who work in the team.
"Now I'm ready. My ambition is to win the Premier League."
When Aurier arrived at Tottenham last season, he had fallen out of favour with PSG following a number of incidents, including criticism of then-manager Laurent Blanc and some of his teammates via social media and an arrest and suspended two-month prison sentence for attacking a police officer.
He said in France, "the media didn't give me a chance," but said that after arriving in England, Pochettino made his expectations clear.
"He told me the club's history, the history of the players," Aurier said. "For me, that's important. The players are good, the mentality is good. I want to win the league. Why not?"
Pochettino also had to offer the 25-year-old guidance in February after he committed three foul throws in a single match at Crystal Palace.
"He spoke with me because when you miss one or two throw-ins, the ref is focused on you," Aurier said. "He told me, 'Stay focused, because now when your throw-in is good, the ref says no.'
"But it's my first time. I didn't know the league. Now I'm OK and I'm ready for everything."
The more Aurier gets to know the Premier League, the more he likes it.
"Before I came, I looked at the Premier League," Aurier said. "I liked the intensity. I like the fans. The English people like football. For me, that's very important. It's not the same in France.
"Here you play against Leicester or Burnley and the stadium is full. I like that. For me, the difference is very big. The French people like football but they don't have the time to go to the stadium. English people are not the same. It's better, for me."