Fryers told to earn his place
Published 08/01/2013 | 19:05
Zeki Fryers was set the challenge of breaking into Tottenham's first team after making his maiden appearance in club colours since moving from Standard Liege.
Fryers helped Spurs' development squad to a 4-0 win over Charlton on Tuesday, having completed a switch to White Hart Lane that angered Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The 19-year-old had been on trial with Tottenham in the summer but joined Standard Liege after Spurs failed to reach an agreement with United.
Tim Sherwood, Tottenham's head of football development, watched Fryers in action and he believes the defender has a promising future. "Zeki is fully aware that he's a long way away from being ready for Tottenham Hotspur's first team," Sherwood told the club's website thfc.com.
"The plan is for him to come in and work hard with the development squad to get to a level - no guarantees - where he could perhaps play for our first team."
Ferguson accused Tottenham of "blatant manipulation of the situation" after Fryers' move was announced and he asked the Premier League to look into it. Sherwood explained the situation from Tottenham's perspective.
"We had the opportunity to bring him in and take a look at him in the summer," he said. "We took a mixture of youth and development players to Portugal and took him out with us, basically gave him a trial. We liked what we saw, we knew there was something there.
"He showed potential, a lot of tools there that could make him a player. We played a couple of friendlies and he was definitely of interest to us.
"We were unable to agree a deal on the terms Manchester United were asking and he ended up signing for Standard Liege.
"Our scouts watched him on a couple of occasions. Standard Liege changed their manager in November and the new manager by all accounts didn't fancy him and he then became a little disillusioned and homesick.
"The next thing we knew his representatives called us, along with, as I understand, a number of other clubs, to see if there was any interest in bringing him back."