It was my dream to return to Spurs, Chimbonda goads Sunderland fans
07 March 2009 10:38
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Sunderland fans hoping to boo Tottenham defender Pascal Chimbonda on his return to the Stadium of Light are likely to be disappointed.
After signing Chimbonda in January, Harry Redknapp had claimed the Frenchman would solve Spurs' defensive problems - yet Chimbonda is still waiting for his first Premier League start since returning to White Hart Lane.
When Chimbonda left Spurs for Wearside last summer, his relationship with the club's fans was on the verge of breakdown after he had stormed down the tunnel at Wembley when substituted during the Carling Cup final win over Chelsea in February 2008.
Redknapp, then, knew he was testing the fans' goodwill when he concluded the £3million deal for the defender - this makes his apparent reluctance to use the former Wigan man all the more mystifying.
The Spurs boss opted to rest his first-choice right-back Vedran Corluka for the 4-0 win over Middlesbrough.
Yet instead of bringing in Chimbonda, the Spurs manager decided to use midfielder Didier Zokora in Corluka's role. If he cannot get into the team even when Corluka is given a breather, Chimbonda must be wondering why he was re-signed.
His only starts since rejoining Spurs have come in the UEFA Cup ties against Shakhtar Donetsk - a competition Redknapp happily admitted he had no time for.
At least for now, Chimbonda is remaining patient, but he is unlikely to be willing to play the waiting game indefinitely.
Having failed to settle in the north east, he was initially pleased to return to Spurs and said: 'Sometimes you have a choice, and in the summer, mine was to leave Tottenham. I spent a good time at Sunderland, but I had some problems. So when the manager (Ricky Sbragia) told me about Spurs' interest, I thought "why not?".
'It will be a good chance for me. It was my dream to come back to Spurs. I came back for this manager, so I think the move will be good for everybody.
'I want to show the manager how hard I'm working in training. If I'm training hard and show the manager I can play, I can't decide for the manager. Only he will decide who plays.'
While Chimbonda has struggled to make an impression, his fellow January signing Robbie Keane has quickly become an integral part of Redknapp's team following his return from Liverpool.
After a quiet first two matches against Arsenal and Hull, new skipper Keane was superb against Boro, scoring the first goal and playing a key role in the next three but he was quick to warn that Spurs remain deep in trouble, just four points above the relegation zone.
Keane said: 'We've got to push ourselves up that table. We're in a position at the moment where we don't want to be, and with the players we have we shouldn't be there. But the reality is that we are there.'
Keane could be partnered by Darren Bent - a January target for Sunderland - against Sbragia's team, while Ledley King hopes to be fit to return in place of Michael Dawson or Jonathan Woodgate in central defence.
Meanwhile, Spurs are ready to make a summer bid for teenage sensation Bojan Krkic after Barcelona hinted they were ready to sell the 18-year-old Spanish striker who scored 10 goals for them last season.