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Sunday, March 3, 2013
Holtby: Spurs was the right move

Kevin Palmer

Lewis Holtby could have been pulling on an Arsenal shirt in Sunday's North London derby at White Hart Lane, but the Germany international is convinced he made a shrewd move when he opted to sign for their rivals Tottenham in January.

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Holtby, 22, made a huge impression on Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as Bundesliga strugglers Schalke outclassed the Gunners and secured a 2-0 win in the group stages of this season's Champions League.

That performance inspired Wenger to go public in his desire to snap up the youngster who was edging towards the end of his contract with Schalke, yet the Arsenal manager's notorious caution when pinning down a transfer target allowed Tottenham to snatch the midfielder from his grasp.

Now Holtby, the son of a retired British RAF pilot who fought in the 1982 Falklands War is eager to get his first taste of North London derby drama, as he looks to slay the team that were coveting his talents just a few weeks ago.

"There was speculation that I would join Arsenal when we played against them in the Champions League, but I have no doubt that I made the right decision by coming to Tottenham," he said.

"When the decision needed to be made and Tottenham was the club I was offered the chance to join, I couldn't wait to get started. I had a good chat with chairman Daniel Levy and the manager Andre Villas-Boas and this was the right move for me.

"This is a massive club with massive ambitions and everything about this place is set up for success. From the manager, to the squad, to the training ground and the fans, Tottenham is set up for success."

With impressive composure on the ball and boasting an ability to pick out passes at will, this is a young man who is in a hurry to reach the top and he believes his acclimatisation period has been hastened by his English upbringing.

"The fact that I have so many connections here means it is easy to settle," Holtby said. "I watched a lot of English TV when I was a kid and I have lots of family members all over England. Also, I have no problems driving on the left side of the road, so it is quite easy for me to feel at home here."

Holtby hopes his positive experiences against Arsenal this season will hold him in good stead on Sunday, as he is relishing the prospect of playing in one of the great derbies in English football.

"I have lots of family members coming to this game and we all know how important it is," he said. "I played in the Mother of all derbies in German football, which is Borussia Dortmund v Schalke. Now I get a chance to play Tottenham v Arsenal and I can't wait.

"Hopefully my experience of beating Arsenal already this season will help me in this game. I know in my mind I can do it, so why not again."




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