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Exclusive: Milos Veljkovic – Sharing memories playing with Tottenham teammates Mason and Kane

The Werder Bremen defender spoke exclusively to The Boot Room about his time at Tottenham Hotspur.

Mathew Nash

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Milos Veljkovic
Photo: Getty Images

In the summer Tottenham Hotspur invested in two young central defenders. Juan Foyth arrived from Estudiantes in Argentina, whilst Davinson Sanchez became the club’s record signing from Ajax.

An incredibly daunting move for any young player to make, but imagine making the same move at the age of just 16. That was how Milos Veljkovic’s Tottenham Hotspur story started.

As just a 16-year-old boy, Veljkovic left his hometown club of Basel in Switzerland. The teenager made a bold move by heading to the Spurs academy to try and make a career for himself in England.

Speaking exclusively to The Boot Room, the Serbian international explained this month just how Tottenham helped him settle in:

“I have very good (memories),” said Veljkovic.

“My guest family in the first couple of years were really nice to me. The club also was really good to me. I started to play straight away, youth-team and reserves and also in the first-team a little bit.

“So I am quite happy to have had this experience.”

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Veljkovic was certainly keeping the right company to improve his game. The youngster was in a squad that contained a long list of future first-team players at White Hart Lane.

The likes of Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Tom Carroll were all in the reserve picture during Veljkovic’s stay at Spurs. Others, such as Ryan Fredericks, Massimo Luongo and Alex Pritchard – to name a few – went on to be successful elsewhere.

Of course, the biggest example is Harry Kane. The England international has since developed into one of Tottenham’s greatest ever goalscorers, with 136 goals for Spurs and counting.

Such feats are no surprise to Veljkovic. The Serbian, speaking from Germany where he is now a starter with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, revealed how he was telling international team-mates just how talented the future Spurs and England phenomenon was:

“Well if you believe me or not I told a lot of players in the national team already, at a young age. As soon as I saw him, also Ryan Mason, also played with some other good players. Harry Kane, but also Ryan Mason, I thought he was also very good.

“But with Harry Kane I told the (Serbia) players ‘if he can’t become a top player Then I don’t know who can?’,” he claimed with a sheepish laugh.

“He scored a lot of goals, even in the reserves. Every game he would score three or four goals.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

What quickly becomes apparent is the high esteem in which Veljkovic holds his former team-mate Ryan Mason.

That was a popular trend amongst many of his former North London team-mates when he sadly retired in February.

The England international, who had joined Hull City in 2016, suffered a fractured skull in a collision with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill in January 2017.

After 13 months of recuperation and testing, Mason was told to put his playing career behind him.

Veljkovic spoke incredibly warmly of Mason. The Englishman, four years his senior, clearly was something of a mentor to the youngster:

“I was very, very, very sad. He is a good friend of mine,” echoing the sentiments of so many in February.

“I played with (him) also in the reserves. He was an unbelievable player and also a very unbelievable person because he was very nice and very helpful to young players.

“He worked very hard to get into the first-team. Finally, he played and then it happened. So I was really sad to hear this news. But this is football, it is really, really unfortunate.”

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

But when it comes to a career as a coach, something that Tottenham have left the door open to, Veljkovic simply cares about his friend simply enjoying the little things in life:

“I think he has a lot of knowledge of football. But this is not the only important thing, to coach. I think he is still very young. So I don’t know it depends on him what he wants to do.”

Like Mason and so many other top Tottenham talents, Veljkovic could never cement a place in the Tottenham first-team for long enough to justify staying.

With his talent, playing regular first-team football was at the forefront of his mind. In 2016, and at a cut-price, he headed to Europe – joining Werder Bremen.

This path has also been trodden by a former Spurs team-mate. Six months after his Bremen switch, Nabil Bentaleb headed to Germany.

The Algerian international once looked like being a future first-team regular at Spurs, but opportunities dried up under Mauricio Pochettino.

After an initial loan spell, he made a permanent switch to Schalke 04 and Veljkovic believes his old pal is doing a grand job in Gelsenkirchen:

“I was really excited to see him come to Germany and he started really well and played all the games,” commented Veljkovic.

“I like his game. He is a good friend of mine.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

“He had a little bit of difficulty, which is normal. Every player has some periods where they don’t play. Now he plays again and I am really happy to see him do well because we came nearly at the same time at Tottenham and we were really good friends.”

Veljkovic never quite got the opportunities his talent perhaps warranted at Spurs.

However, much like Mason, Bentaleb and so many others, it is clear how much working in the Tottenham youth set-up helped prepare him for life in the footballing world.

Werder Bremen are now reaping the benefits of that work, and Veljkovic will clearly remain grateful to Spurs for his experience at the club.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur round-up: Striker offload, Martial U-turn and Vertonghen wanted

All the latest news and gossip from Tottenham Hotspur.

Mathew Nash

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Striker offload

Tottenham Hotspur are stepping up their attempts to remove Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente from the club.

The London Evening Standard is reporting that Tottenham are hoping to raise as much as £30 million in fees by selling the two striker flops.

Spurs signed Dutch international Vincent Janssen in the summer of 2016 but he failed to have an impact and spent last season on loan at Fenerbahce. Llorente arrived as his replacement from Swansea but also struggled.

(<> at Levi’s Stadium on July 22, 2018 in Santa Clara, California.

Martial u-turn

Tottenham target Anthony Martial will now be allowed to leave Manchester United, according to reports.

The Guardian claim that United manager Jose Mourinho has performed a U-turn and wants the unhappy Frenchman sold this summer.

Tottenham have previously been keen but United want £80 million and would rather sell to foreign parties Bayern Munich or PSG.

Vertonghen wanted

PSG are keen on Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen. As reported by Les Parisien the French champions are looking to bring in a new central defender this summer who can also play in other roles.

The Belgian is the perfect option but Tottenham would seem very unlikely to sell. Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is also on their list.

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Everton

Everton round-up: Richarlison medical, Digne price-tag, Klaassen bid

All the latest news and gossip from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Richarlison medical

Richarlison has completed his medical at Everton and is set to join on a £50 million deal from Watford in the next 24 hours.

Marco Silva worked with the Brazilian last season and was keen to reunite with him this summer.

An initial fee of £35 million is set to be paid for the player but clauses will take the overall price-tag nearer to £50 million.

That will make it a club record, ahead of last summer’s £45 million signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson.

(Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

Digne price

There have been conflicting reports today in Spain regarding recent reports in England over Lucas Digne. The Mirror recently claimed Everton had agreed a £22 million fee for the French international.

However, that does not appear to be the case.

According to Sport, Everton have offered Barcelona just €10 million (£8.9m) for the player, with Barcelona wanting €16 million (£14.3m).

Everton currently have a delegation in Spain trying to thrash out a deal for the left-back.

Klaassen wanted

German side Werder Bremen want Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen. Kreiszeitung are reporting that the Bundesliga side are hopeful of signing the former Ajax captain in a £11.6 million deal this summer.

That would be a huge £12 million reduction on the £23.6 million Everton paid Ajax for the player last summer.

Klaassen failed to find his form at Everton and is expected to depart this summer.

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Manchester United

Jose Mourinho interest should spring Tottenham into Harry Maguire action, using Toby Alderweireld

Tottenham would be better off losing the Belgian now and bringing in England’s World Cup star.

Mathew Nash

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Manchester United are the latest team being linked with a move for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire. According to The Telegraph, Jose Mourinho is a big fan of the England World Cup hero and is readying a move.

Any deal would cost in excess of £50 million. The Mirror suggest he will cost £65 million and see the futures of Marcos Rojo. Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones jeopardised.

Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked with Maguire this summer and this development should jolt them into action.

Spurs could have the upper hand in this race, as they have a player Mourinho may want even more than Maguire.

(Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

United are known to be very keen on Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld. The 29-year-old’s contract stand-off with Spurs has seen him linked with an exit this summer. Tottenham are standing firm on any asking price. The latest reports suggested that fee was £75 million.

But, in the long run, allowing Alderweireld to go for cheaper could be a stroke of genius from Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

Alderweireld is a far more ‘Mourinho’ player and the Manchester United boss would surely prefer him to Maguire. If Levy and Spurs allow the Belgian to go at a cheaper price it would leave the path clear to lodge their own bid for Maguire.

Tottenham would be ridding themselves of a contract rebel who, despite his brilliance, is nearly five years older than the England hero. In return, they would get Maguire, who would suit their style of play perfectly – especially if Mauricio Pochettino decides on playing a back-three.

A little convoluted? Perhaps. However, this could end up being the best case scenario for Tottenham.

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