Vertonghen urges Poch and Spurs to value aging stars… and try to win something

first_imgJAN VERTONGHEN admits he feels very aware of his age — and Spurs players tend to be more conscious of their birth certificates than most.Age is not just a number at Tottenham, where chairman Daniel Levy hasn’t tended to dish out lengthy deals to those in the second half of their careers.4 Spurs star Jan Vertonghen (second left) says Poch and Levy must trust their aging starsCredit: AFP or licensorsAnd that was one of the issues leading to such an unsettled summer at White Hart Lane, with even Mauricio Pochettino admitting to “different agendas” in the dressing room.But as Bayern Munich rock up for a Champions League clash tonight, the question is whether Spurs can ever hope to rule Europe if they don’t value their more experienced players.Vertonghen is 32 and in the final year of his contract. Likewise, Toby Alderweireld, who is 30. And Danny Rose has two years to run at 29.Christian Eriksen, 27, has turned down a long-term deal at Spurs in the vain hope of something more attractive elsewhere.Lose those four long-servers and Spurs would be seriously lacking in top-level experience.And you do not tend to win the Champions League without battle-hardened pros — the average age of winning teams being just shy of 28.Ears did prick up around the dressing-room when Moussa Sissoko, aged 30, signed a new three-year deal with an option for a fourth.Perhaps Levy, always so aware of re-sale value when negotiating contracts, is ready to satisfy some of the demands of his senior players.4 Poch’s Spurs face Bayern Munich at home on Tuesday nightCredit: ReutersAsked whether doubts over his contract have proved a distraction, Vertonghen replied: “Not a distraction. I’m very aware of my age. But I feel fairly young.“I want to play as many games as I can at the highest possible level. I feel like I still have a couple of good years left in me.“That’s definitely how I’m feeling now. I hope I can help the team for as long as I can.”And on whether talks were ongoing, the Belgian added: “I prefer not to go too deep into that. But there is always some movement everywhere.”Sitting alongside Pochettino at the eve-of-match press conference, Vertonghen was quizzed about being axed by his boss for the first three games of this season.He said: “I want to play every game. I was disappointed. But that shows I’m still ambitious. I’m going to play as many games as I can this season. That depends on my performances.”Pochettino insisted he wants Vertonghen to stay beyond this season.But the manager was once more at pains to point out that he has little to do with contract negotiations.4 Philippe Coutinho and his Bayern team-mates in trainingCredit: Getty Images – GettyLADBROKES 1-2-FREE Simply predict West Ham vs Palace, Saints vs Chelsea and Newcastle vs Man Utd scores this weekend and win £100Asked whether he hoped Vertonghen would stay, he said: “I am open to everything. But that is like I said before about Moussa Sissoko. That is a deal between the club and him and his agent.“We’ll see what happens because always there are two different parties in all the deals.“Jan is in the sixth season with me and he was always an important part of my project and my decisions in football. That feeling is not going to change.”Vertonghen, in his eighth year at Spurs, denied the squad has gone stale with Pochettino in his sixth campaign and a relative lack of transfer activity over the past few seasons.He said: “We’ve improved every year. Last year we went to the Champions League final.“Some new players came in and that keeps it fresh, I don’t share that feeling (of staleness) at all.“I see a lot of joy in the dressing room and when we go out on the pitch for every single training session. Everyone enjoys playing here.”The big centre-back claimed Saturday’s 2-1 win over Southampton, when Spurs played an hour with ten men after Serge Aurier’s red card, was proof they still possess unity and team spirit.Vertonghen added: “The mood at this point is good. To go down to ten and go 1-1, we showed who we really are. We fought. We stuck together.“We were buzzing at half-time and after the game. We wanted to show who we are. That we can fight.“And we did. We can dominate games but we can fight as well. That was a good feeling to see that.”Now the Belgian centre-back gets to face Bayern’s prolific hitman Robert Lewandowski tonight — the perfect challenge for a man wishing to underline his value to the Spurs hierarchy.Vertonghen is relishing the challenge of facing the German giants now Spurs have pushed themselves towards the European elite by reaching last season’s final and opening their new world-class stadium.4 Dele Alli in action at the Spurs training groundCredit: Getty Images – GettyTottenham vs Bayern Munich – Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and betting odds for Champions League matchMOST READ IN FOOTBALLTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticREF RELEASEDChampions League ref Vincic released by cops after arrest in prostitution raidKEANE DEALEx Man United youth ace David Jones says Roy Keane negotiated a contract for himHe said: “We want more of that. There are bigger favourites than us in the competition and were last year, too. But we’ve got a lot of confidence in ourselves.“We’ve come a long way. We get questions now about reaching the Champions League final compared to the Europa League groups we were in when I arrived.“I think that’s the perfect example of how well we’ve done. It shows what we’ve achieved.”last_img read more

Young Greek Italian becomes Melbournes Junior Lord Mayor

first_imgChloe Amalfi, a 12-year-old Australian student of Greek and Italian heritage has just become Melbourne’s Junior Lord Mayor, a title that she will carry for the next 12 months.She is the winner of the 2018 Melbourne Day Committee competition that was finalised on Monday after the judges deliberated and unanimously decided Miss Amalfi was the strongest candidate out of the seven finalists.“I’m feeling very excited and kind of overwhelmed but really looking forward to the 12 months ahead to my duties,” Chloe tells Neos Kosmos.“I will actually be seeing Lord Mayor Sally Capp next Thursday 30 August – which is Melbourne Day – and I’ll be raising the flag with her at Enterprise Park, and the best part is my class gets to come as well!”Even though the committee unanimously announced her as the winner, Chloe never thought she would win.“To be honest, I personally never thought I’d win this as the other nominees were so strong,” she admits, adding that perhaps an unexpected question and the topics she focused on was what set her apart and got her across the line.“They were asking questions that they didn’t necessarily put down in your interview sheet or the application and people said I did a really good job of that. Most candidates talked on the same topic, gave similar answers, reciting pollution, recycling, exercise. I talked more about homelessness, infrastructure projects, security and cleanliness.”Chloe’s mother, Alex Amalfi told Neos Kosmos that her daughter did not advise them before putting herself forward in the competition after it was introduced to her class by the teacher.“I didn’t even know about it,” Alex says. “I only found out after she was selected. She did her own research, looked up all those issues. She took her own initiatives there with her teacher, came home and told us she put herself forward. She was pretty relaxed with everything.”The Lord Mayor (L) with the junior winner and her mum Alex Amalfi.Lord Mayor Sally Capp (L), winner Chloe Amalfi and the other six finalists.The Lord Mayor (L) with the junior winner and her mum Alex Amalfi.Indeed, even though the teachers at Genazzano FCJ College in Kew where Chloe studies presented the competition to the entire class, she was the only one in her midst that took on the challenge.“I found the questions important and I was thinking about the future and all the things that could be done to make this beautiful city better,” she mused changing her tone to stress Melbourne’s increasing homeless population.“It’s really sad and we definitely need to fix it quick because two out of five homeless people are under the age of 25. I gave some answers on how I think we could help them, (…) provide more homeless shelters, assist them to get support from offering basic supplies to long-term solutions,” she says.“Making homeless people feel more secure, safe and included into the Melburnian community is imperative, something we need to work on with the council and engage the entire city.“My main idea was to utilise vacant buildings as temporary shelters.”Staying true to the Melbourne Day Committee core values, Chloe understands that all Melburnians need to help correct the record about the founding of Melbourne and celebrate its anniversaries.“Melbourne Day is all about celebrating Melbourne and bringing people and communities together to promote what our city has to offer,” she says.“That’s what I feel this junior role is here to represent and support.“All the candidates touched on how important multiculturalism is – perhaps even more than I did – and personally, I do feel that without all the cultures, Melbourne just wouldn’t be Melbourne.”The young Australian, not only appreciates her mixed heritage, but she tries to be as connected to it as possible.“I am half Greek, half Italian and I am very connected to both my backgrounds. Recently we went to Greece. My grandparents from my mother’s side are from Lefkada and I’ve visited twice. I’m proud of both my identities, but I find it hard to speak Greek or Italian most of the time.”While being Junior Lord Mayor for the year is something Chloe is looking forward to, being able to simply enjoy the rest of her childhood comes first.“I just want to go to school, spend time with my family, with my friends… You know, being a child and being normal!”Even though outside of school Chloe’s schedule is quite hectic as she engages in quite a few extracurricular activities, she promises to stay on top of her duties as Melbourne city’s junior boss.“I do dance twice a week; hip hop, jazz and contemporary, and on Saturdays I play netball and do sports swimming during the week, but I know I can manage being Junior Lord Mayor too!”“She’s always been a very confident and passionate child and hopefully in the future she’ll get to make more of a difference towards what she believes in,” Chloe’s mum, Alex says.“Peter Hitchener said to me on Monday that she just shines. She’s such a natural performer; I couldn’t be more proud.”Chloe with judge Peter Hitchener. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Save the date A Costa Rican abroad encounters social calendars

first_imgThere can be major adaptations in a minor culture shock. In terms of way of life and social norms, the gap between Costa Rica and the United States is narrow enough that I didn’t worry too much when I first moved to the States. After all, I learned English when I was 5 or 6, played “Candy Land” during my childhood and, like many Costa Ricans of my generation, can sing the full lyrics of the opening theme of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” dubbed in Spanish in a screechy voice that Will Smith would most certainly disown.What did I need to know that wasn’t already there in the nine seasons of “Seinfeld,” every 90s boy band song, and Tom Sawyer’s practical wisdom? I wasn’t coming from a country where women wore burqas or you had to go on a squat toilet. I was coming from a country that, for better or worse, had long received the influence of the United States. I felt like I had the best of both worlds: salsa and Madonna, tamales and cheeseburgers. I had enhanced my already rich Latin American identity with thoroughly assimilated aspects of U.S. culture. Except they weren’t quite as assimilated as I thought.The first thing I felt upon arriving in New Jersey was loneliness. Of course, that’s a common feature of the expat experience anywhere, but being Costa Rican is a particularly gregarious phenomenon. Perhaps due to the fact that most of us live very close to our family, our school friends and almost any person we’ve ever met, our lives are always crowded – physically, emotionally and chronologically. I’ve heard many U.S. friends say that one of the wonderful things about getting married is that, on your wedding day, you gather all the people from the different stages of your life into one place. Well, that’s what being Costa Rican is like. All. The. Time.There are obvious advantages to having an overpopulated private life. You can always call Uncle Dilson when the car breaks down. Chances are someone you know will drive by while you wait for him. Going to a fancy party means a pilgrimage to some 15 closets, where you can borrow clothes from your cousins, your high school friends or your colleagues. And there’s the occasional local celebrity spotting at the supermarket, where it’s not uncommon to peek into a congresswoman’s shopping cart, take a selfie with a national football team player, or delve into the eating habits of that anchorman from the six o’clock news.But even serious extroverts want some control over their social interactions. You don’t want to keep running into your old boyfriends when you are trying to find a new one. You don’t want to learn, at a family lunch, that your boss is also your third cousin twice removed. You don’t want a night out at the movies to look like, well, your college reunion. People sometimes need anonymity. They need the diluted collective experience that Ticos, by virtue of country size, are rarely afforded.So when I say I felt lonely I don’t mean it in the existential no-one-gets-me kind of way. I mean it in the where-the-hell-is-everybody kind of way. I was 25 and had just understood that being surrounded by strangers is just another form of solitude. For once in my life, I had to reach out. Socializing required intention. And Americans, at least the ones I know, are particularly good at that.I remember the first time I got one of those “save the date” emails. People wanted me to tell them what I was doing the second Saturday of the following month. What? I didn’t know what I was doing the following hour. There are only two moments when Costa Ricans plan ahead: New Year and Holy Week. And that’s only if you want to go to the beach. Everything else falls into a somewhat spontaneous (read chaotic) exchange.Which is not to say that Americans are not spontaneous or that Costa Ricans never agree to meet 10 days later. It is just that, overall, there is more structure to socializing here. Life, especially life in a city, requires that you think about the frequency with which you want to see people. It asks that you form an opinion on how to allot your free time the following week and the week after that. It asks that you remember the complexity of other people’s networks and how you are only one part of your friends’ social architecture. It requires a sense of direction. Social direction.I might never assimilate this completely, but it has helped me in ways I’m only beginning to understand. Whenever I’m back in Costa Rica now, I have a keen awareness of what my social priorities are. I miss those long talks over coffee at my mom’s place, so I make room for them. I need those soul-searching conversations with my friends at one in the morning, so I make them happen. I construct my social life, at a deliberate pace and with a deliberate course. There’s nothing stale in planning when and where and how you see your loved ones. It might be a way of letting them know how much you care. As for my old belief that I already had the best of both worlds – on the treasured occasions when I can combine the gregariousness of Costa Rica with the thoughtfulness of U.S. social life, I feel that I actually do. Raquel Chanto is a lawyer and policy wonk trying to survive international bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. In the new monthly column “Please Send Coffee!” she explores aspects of Costa Rican culture and how they contrast with life abroad. 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