Jermaine Jenas: "Edgar Davids was a star – but he wasn't technically as good as I thought he'd be…"

Edgar Davids
(Image credit: Getty)

Tottenham Hotspur legend Jermaine Jenas says that Edgar Davids was an incredible footballer – but totally not what he expected. 

Jenas first played against the Pitbull for Newcastle United against Juventus, earning the man of the match in a performance at St. James's Park in the Champions League. Later, however, the pair wound up at Tottenham together in the same midfield, with the England international taken a-back by his new Dutch colleague. 

"I was 19 years old and he was in that midfield with Nedved and they had a good team," Jenas told FourFourTwo's Player's Lounge. "Buffon was in goal, Trezeguet up top with Del Piero and I remember I got man of the match and Davids got brought off. I remember thinking, 'Oh my god, that’s a feather in your cap, outplaying Davids in midfield.' Edgar was a star."

"But when he came to Spurs, something really stood out for me. 

"Technically, I didn’t think he was as good as I thought he would be. Like, you know those Nike adverts he used to be on where he’d do all those tricks and stuff? That wasn’t really what he was about, Edgar, that’s not what made him the player he was."

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Jermaine Jenas

(Image credit: Getty)

Davids was renowned for his bite on the pitch – and Jenas told FFT that the midfielder wasn't interested in making friends off the field either. During the 2005/06 season when Tottenham were fighting for the top four with a young squad, Davids took matters into his own hands to ensure the team were taking their responsibilities seriously.

"We finished training one day and I think we’d had a bit of an average training session," Jenas recalls. "He went around saying, 'We've got a meeting' – he dragged people out of the gym and out of the physio saying and we all went in there thinking Martin Jol was gonna be in there.

"He was just stood there and he said, 'What do you lot want? Because if you want this, you need to sort yourselves out.' He was basically saying, 'I’ve won it. At the end of my career, I’ll be alright, but you lot, you’ve not been there, and if you want it, you need to start doing this, this and this,' and I remember specifically a load of people walking out – even probably myself – almost laughing at him, like bloody hell, calm down Edgar, relax will you? 

"It wasn’t until later on in my career that I realised: that’s why he achieved what he did in the game. Because the mentality that he had to win games far surpassed anything he could do on a football pitch."

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