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Tanganga and Edwards: From Academy team-mates to Champions League opponents

Tue 25 October 2022, 22:10|Tottenham Hotspur

Japhet Tanganga and Marcus Edwards have taken very different paths to the Champions League since their days as team-mates in our Academy.

While defender Japhet worked his way up through the ranks to establish himself in our first team squad, attacking midfielder Marcus left north London to try a different route to the top in Portugal, initially joining Vitória de Guimarães in 2019 before being snapped up by Sporting CP in January of this year.

Both local lads who were part of the same year group during their time here in the youth ranks, they now find themselves on opposite sides on the biggest European footballing stage there is, with Marcus and his Sporting outfit in town for Wednesday night’s matchday five encounter.

Having endured his fair share of injury problems so far in 2022, Japhet’s only appearance to date this term came against Marseille in our first match in the Champions League. Nevertheless, he’s intrigued to see how his old pal fares against us on his return to N17.

“I’ve played football with Marcus since I was 10 and I always knew that talent-wise, he’s one of the most gifted players I’ve ever played with,” the centre-back told our official matchday programme for Wednesday night’s game.

“We’re friends as well, so I’m happy to see him doing well at Sporting, playing in the Champions League and progressing with his career.

“He settled in quite quickly when he went to Vitória, did well there, his name was being spoken about quite a bit and then obviously he got the move to Sporting, where he’s continued to perform and has shown what he can do. It’s great to see him now as a Champions League footballer.”

Marcus has featured in all of Sporting’s four matches in Group D so far this season, including from the start against us in Lisbon in September, where he memorably embarked on a trademark solo run which almost culminated in him breaking the deadlock in first-half stoppage time, only for Hugo Lloris to make a fine save.

“It was weird one for me because I played with him for so long when we were younger and I’ve seen those runs many a time,” smiled Japhet. “Being on the bench myself and seeing him do that against us… it felt a bit strange. Obviously I’d never want to see him score against my team, but I was just happy to see him performing. I’ve always known he’s got that in his locker and it was special to see him showing his skills on such a big stage, although thankfully for us, Hugo was able to keep it out.”

Read more from Japhet on Marcus’ career and the importance of victory for us against Sporting in Wednesday night’s official matchday programme. Another A4-sized special Champions League edition, pick up yours at the game or order online for delivery direct to your door.