Chris Miller: Here’s the worst Tottenham XI of this decade

These guys still give Tottenham fans nightmares!


GK: Heurelho Gomes

The Octopus was initially hugely popular and won the hearts of fans with some impressive if unconventional performances, and his endearing pre-match ritual.

It would be totally wrong to say that his entire spell at Spurs was bad – it wasn’t.

But his loss of confidence and, subsequently, a string of high-profile errors at the end mean that he stands out for the wrong reasons.

RB: Kyle Naughton

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Kyle Naughton’s claim to fame at Spurs was that he joined in the same deal that took Kyle Walker to the club.

Naughton was seen as the more ‘first team-ready’ player at the time, while Walker was always seen to have more potential.

In hindsight, Naughton was absolutely not a Premier League player. He was timid and unadventurous going forward, and not sturdy enough defensively to justify that.

LB: Zeki Fryers

There was real excitement around the signing of Zeki Fryers from Standard Liege.

This was because we’d tried to sign him from Man United but couldn’t agree a compensation package; so the rumour was that Daniel Levy made a deal with Standard whereby they would sign him and then sell him to Spurs down the line.

He wasn’t worth the hype. He now plays at League Two Swindon Town.

CB: Bongani Khumalo

Bongani Khumalo spent four and a half years at Spurs – that’s only a year less than Mauricio Pochettino!

He never actually played a competitive game, but he was a regular for the Under-21s (despite being in his mid-20s) and essentially became a meme amongst our fans.

He was very bad, but we welcome our South African friends who followed their boy Bongani to Spurs.

CB: Vlad Chiriches

It was a toss-up between Ryan Nelson and Vlad Chiricheș and I went for Vlad because he’s way more interesting.

With a name like Vlad you would expected a brute of a man who can’t really play but can stick his foot in. But he was the opposite – he was actually a pretty able footballer, but the problem was that he could not defend.

The sight of a ball in the air was enough to send him running toward his own goal, screaming that the sky was falling in.

Once he lost his confidence with his poor defending, his attempts to bring the ball out from the back became pitiful, and poor old Vlad was individually responsible for a lot of goals.

CM: Benjamin Stambouli

Benji Stambouli was not so much an awful player, but more a total nothing player.

He amassed 25 appearances for us, but I genuinely could not tell you a single thing he did in that time. Meh.

CM: Paulinho

This was a close call, because there was clearly *some* ability there. But Paulinho’s key (only?) strength – timing a run into the box extremely well – was so niche, and not the most becoming of a Brazilian international midfielder.

Signed for £17m, he actually managed 10 goals and seven assists in his 67 appearances for us, so is apparently the least deserving of his place in this XI, and should probably be replaced by Jake Livermore. But he stands out because of what he should have been; a goal-scoring Brazilian midfielder in the Frank Lampard mould is what we were told to expect.

His finishing was so awful, the rumour at the time was that he was responsible for the loss of many footballs on the training pitch. We somehow only lost around £7m on him due to interest from China, so there’s that.

RW: Clinton N’jie

Spurs paid Lyon £12m for Clinton Njie, which is about £47m in today’s money. 386 minutes later he was loaned and then sold to Marseille.

Amongst the multitude of misplaced passes and blind alley runs in those 386 minutes were moments of quality. But, the moments were so fleeting that you were left wondering how on earth the scouting team had seen anything of merit.

His transfer to Marseille was inextricably linked to our signing of…

LW: Georges-Kévin Nkoudou

Njie went one way and GK Nkodou came the other for £11m. Unlike Njie, Nkoudou actually managed to register a goal.

He got a couple of assists too, including for a last-minute Harry Winks winner against Fulham. But in an era where Spurs have generally been excellent, I can barely remember a less capable attacking player – his touch so inconsistent, his decision-making so erratic.

Boy did his social media team know how to tweet though. Bantz galore!

FW: Roberto Soldado

Roberto Soldado ruined my trip to Florence. Through on goal he seemed to get caught in two minds, bottled a shot and then tried to roll in Nacer Chadli, messing up a simple pass to quite incredible levels.

His by then fragile confidence and loss of mental clarity in that moment summed up his entire Spurs career.

He was our record transfer – £26m – and pound-for-pound has to go down as one of our biggest transfer flops of all time.

FW: Vincent Janssen

But, Soldado does have some competition from £17m Vincent Janssen.

At no point in any of his 42 appearances did he give any sense of believing himself to be a good enough Premier League player.

Sure, he had a lovely big backside that he could push into defenders at will. But his lack of finesse was apparent from day one, and the fact that he’s now playing in Liga MX is testament to that.

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