Tottenham's Juan Foyth idolised Rio Ferdinand when growing up
Tottenham's Juan Foyth said he admired Rio Ferdinand when he was growing up and that it is a dream come true to now be playing in the Premier League.
Like Ferdinand, centre-back Foyth has impressed with his confidence on the ball and his ability to carry it forward, and the 20-year-old was the match winner in only his second top-flight appearance for Spurs on Saturday, heading in decisively in their 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace.
"Since when I was a kid, my dream was playing in the Premier League so I'm enjoying it," Foyth said. "[I admired] Rio Ferdinand when I was young. My idol was Kaka but, playing with friends, I always played centre-back and I'd say 'I'm Rio Ferdinand.'
"I was young [when he was playing] but I know he was an amazing centre-back. I'd play the Playstation and when I'd play with friends I'd say 'I'm Rio Ferdinand' -- but I don't remember the games [he played]."
Foyth had endured a difficult outing the previous weekend at Wolves, conceding two penalties on his Premier League debut.
But he made an impact for all the right reasons at Selhurst Park, pouncing at close range when Palace striker Jordan Ayew paused and failed to attack the ball.
"It was a strange feeling [last week] because it was my debut and I conceded two penalties," Foyth said. "But the important thing was we got the win, and I tried to learn from that.
"I always wait for the chance and the gaffer needed me. Now I've scored my first goal. It's unbelievable and I'm really happy.
"I was surprised because I saw the ball there and in the first moment I thought I didn't arrive [on time], but I saw the ball there and I went and scored."
Moussa Sissoko was also a key player against Palace and has become a reliable figure this season.
The France international, who arrived with a £30 million price tag in the summer of 2016, was a largely unpopular figure among Spurs supporters during his first two campaigns at the club, but he is now enjoying a strong run of form, and Mauricio Pochettino was happy that the fans were singing his name.
"I hope now that when I don't play him the fans won't criticise me." Pochettino said. "Things are now the opposite and he is a hero of the fans.
"In football you must always show respect because sometimes different players need a different amount of time to produce performances in the way that you want. But by being honest, professional and always giving your best, you can turn the opinion of the people.
"I am so happy for Moussa because he deserves the love he is getting from fans and his teammates. He is a massive guy but he is so big-hearted and so nice."
Asked whether there was a time when he thought Sissoko would leave Spurs, Pochettino said: "That is the history of football, no? There are many players in football who were close to going and then come in like this.
"Good things can happen if you are a professional like Moussa and keep pushing and working hard.
"The coaching staff have also supported him, and that is so important because when you believe in the player, and the player feels like you believe in him, he gains the confidence to go out and play."