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NewsCO.com.au – ‘I’d back Spurs for the title – if they were staying at White Hart Lane’ – Jermaine Jenas

May 18, 2017

The only thing that worries me about next season for Tottenham is that they will be playing their home games at Wembley.

If Spurs were staying at White Hart Lane then I would be thinking they can go on and win the Premier League, but Wembley is a genuine issue for them.

Premier League rules do not allow them to change the pitch size to make it the same as at the Lane, where they have been in such brilliant form this season on a pitch that is 440 square metres smaller than the one they will play on at Wembley.

Where possible, Premier League pitches now have to be 105m x 68m but White Hart Lane only measured 100m x 67m and there was no room to extend it. Wembley’s pitch is usually 105m x 69m but will be changed to 105m x 68m for Tottenham’s Premier League games in 2017-18, the same size as the pitch will be at their new stadium

When I played at Wembley for England, I always noticed the difference with a bigger pitch – the game is slower and you get more time on the ball, and it also seemed to take longer for play to shift from one end to the other.

So you cannot easily play the game that Spurs like to play that makes them the team that they are at White Hart Lane – that likes to get in teams’ faces, press them and win the ball back high up the pitch.

Tottenham are the only Premier League team undefeated at home this season. They won 17 of their 19 games at White Hart Lane, and Liverpool and Leicester were the only teams they failed to beat

Spurs struggled when they played at Wembley in Europe this season, only winning one out of four matches, and hopefully there are ideas in place to improve things there off the pitch because it is going to be difficult for the supporters too.

There are fans who have had the same seats at White Hart Lane for years and are used to seeing the same faces around them every week, but they will have to create an atmosphere in totally different surroundings at Wembley.

I am confident that will be easy to do when they move into their new stadium in 2018 because they can start building the memories that will make it feel like home, but being at Wembley for a year will be a lot harder to deal with.

Tottenham Hotspur are due to move into their new stadium next year

Why Spurs have to pay their players what they deserve

The other big question mark is whether Tottenham can keep this team together.

There are certain sides across Europe at the moment that look susceptible if clubs try to sign their players, and Spurs are one of them.

Along with Borussia Dortmund and Monaco, they have got plenty of players in their squad that the big boys will be looking to cherry pick from.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is no pushover and there is no way he will let anyone leave cheaply, but my concern is not that there is going to be a fire sale.

I am more worried about the mentality of the players being affected if they are not being paid what they deserve, and deciding they want to move on.

Spurs stars deserve 100% more pay – Jenas

We are not talking about kids anymore. Yes, some of them are still young but they are European stars now.

Tottenham are now a Champions League team, two years on the spin. This season was probably the hardest year ever to finish in the top four and they did it comfortably.

For the club to keep on progressing, they need to keep their players happy. When I spoke on Radio 5 live recently about them deserving 100% more than they are getting paid right now, that is not because they are greedy, it is down to their self-worth.

If I am Kyle Walker and I am on £40,000 or £50,000 a week and Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne is sitting across from me in the England changing room on, say, £100,000 a week then I am asking myself is that how my club values me?

Dele Alli deserved main PFA award nomination – Mauricio Pochettino

When I go through the Tottenham team, some of them are already good enough to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid, so you have to start treating them like players of that calibre, or you will lose them.

When people talk about Spurs players they don’t seem to see them in the same light but you will see what they are worth in the summer when bids start coming in for them.

If any of them do leave, I doubt it will be for less than £40m but they are not getting paid like £40m players at the moment, so there is something wrong.

The top end of the team is where Spurs can improve

After finishing third in the Premier League in 2015-16 and runners-up this season, the next challenge for Spurs now is to win the title, as well as making an impact in the Champions League.

To do that, they have to do more than keep their current squad together – they need to invest in it, and strengthen. I think they know that is probably what has cost them this season.

When I look at Tottenham’s back five and the two midfielders who sit in front of the defence as part of their strongest line-up, then I don’t see it getting much better than that.

Spurs have conceded 24 goals in 36 Premier League games this season, the best defensive record in the top flight. They have also had the most clean sheets – 17 – and only champions Chelsea (100) have faced fewer shots on target than Tottenham’s 102

Marcelo and Sergio Ramos are absolutely brilliant for Real Madrid, but they are individuals.

Juventus probably have the best defensive unit in Europe but, other than that, I don’t see anything better than what Spurs have got.

The attacking part of their team is the area where Tottenham can improve, and I would bring in two more forwards to play behind Harry Kane.

The likes of Everton’s Ross Barkley