Van der Vaart: I'm not leaving Spurs - we're on the verge of something special
Published 22:30 02/01/12 By Mike Walters
Rafael van der Vaart has promised to stay and fire Tottenham to title glory, insisting: “Nobody wants to leave Spurs now.”
Dutch master Van der Vaart faces West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane on Tuesday night buoyed by a weekend of crazy New Year results and a night out at the darts.
The disappointment of Spurs being pegged back by Swansea’s equaliser on New Year’s Eve - which came so late Big Ben was almost chiming in 2012 - was offset by title rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all losing.
And Van der Vaart, who scored his first goal since October at the Liberty Stadium, has promised manager Harry Redknapp he will stay and help Spurs achieve their minimum target of Champions League football at the Lane next season.
Although the Van Man’s relationship with Redknapp has not always been plain sailing, he is not interested in taking the bait of big clubs on the continent, notably from Italian giants AC Milan, with Tottenham well-placed for their highest League finish since 1987.
Van der Vaart said: “It’s not true that I could be leaving in January. Of course there are rumours when you are third in the table and you play good football.
“People are always going to look and they are interested in the players of Tottenham, but this season nobody wants to leave - we are close to something special.
“Of course I want to stay here. Everybody feels that we have a great team and it is really fun to play here - we have big players, experienced players and Harry is doing a great job.
“Sometimes you can have a little problem with the manager, but you talk to each other and everything is fine.
“Harry is doing an amazing job at Spurs and this season it feels that something more can happen.”
Van der Vaart, speaking at Alexandra Palace on a dramatic night of world championship darts, admitted his New Year celebrations were boosted by City’s controversial late defeat at the Stadium of Light.
He added: “I was celebrating at home when Manchester City lost at Sunderland, and especially as the winning goal was offside.
“We needed the three points at Swansea and we were only six minutes away, but to be fair they played some very good stuff and deserved a draw. And now our result doesn’t seem so bad.
“Now we need to push on and qualify for the Champions League again - otherwise we would be really disappointed not to finish in the top four after our first half of the season.”
With Spurs, one defeat in 16 League games, leading the capital’s title charge, Van der Vaart has been unable to share his passion for darts across the north London divide with Arsenal rival Robin Van Persie.
RVP supported his compatriot Raymond van Barneveld in the final against Phil Taylor at Ally Pally three years ago, but Van der Vaart admitted: “Although Robin also likes watching the darts, we don’t usually speak about it because Tottenham and Arsenal are big rivals and it is a bit difficult.
“And since I have been at Spurs we have never lost against them! But he is in great form at the moment.”