Kenyan international Victor Wanyama has revealed Tottenham Hotspur assistant manager Jesus Perez was key to making his life bearable in North London after his switch from Southampton in 2016.
Wanyama, who recently returned from a lengthy injury layoff says he lost seven kilos after joining Spurs as Perez worked on him to make him a fitter and better player.
Wanyama joined Spurs for a fee of £11m after Mauricio Pochettino wooed him for a reunion, having worked together at Southampton. Adapting at Spurs wasn’t a walk in the park with their high tempo pressing and European football something which Wanyama wasn’t accustomed to at Southampton as he says, "I lost 7kg when I arrived at Tottenham from Southampton. He made me fitter. Every day now I feel stronger."
Cog in midfield
He formed a formidable partnership with Moussa Dembele at the heart of midfield, becoming a cog in Spurs' wheel, and aided them finish runners up to eventual champions Chelsea in 2017
The 26 year old didn’t shy away from heaping praise at the Spurs second in command; "It's tough at Tottenham, Jesus Perez, the manager's assistant is mad. He knows everything about all of us, he works you hard with different ideas and it's very fruitful." Perez and Pochettino have a long history together coming from the same home town. They worked together at Southampton before switching allegiances to Spurs.
The former Celtic midfielder went on to share some of the dressing room clowns in the teams, "Jan Vertonghen, Kieran Trippier and ‘Sonny’ - Heung-Min Son, he’s very funny — are the practical jokers in the team and they kept the atmosphere light.” Wanyama also spoke on the solidarity in the dressing room saying he’s never felt at home before anywhere, "I never felt disconnected from the squad while I was injured. People find it hard to believe but we are an unbelievably tight group. I've not known it before where everyone is friends.”
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Coincidentally Tottenham next face Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday at the St. Mary’s Stadium with the Saints looking far from the team they were last season, sitting just one point above the relegation zone.