Assou-Ekotto - It's just a job
Full-back has respect for current boss
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 01/05/10 12:06pm
Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto says he plays for the money and that football is not his real passion.
"It's only a job. Yes, it's a good, good job and I don't say that I hate football but it's not my passion."
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The straight-talking Spurs man said as soon as he steps off the football pitch, he leaves that lifestyle behind until the next training session or game.
The Cameroon international spoke frankly about his disinterest in the hype which surrounds football and sees the sport as just a career.
"If I play football with my friends back in France, I can love football," reports The Guardian.
"But if I come to England, where I knew nobody and I didn't speak English... why did I come here? For a job.
"A career is only 10, 15 years. It's only a job. Yes, it's a good, good job and I don't say that I hate football but it's not my passion."
He went on: "Whatever attitude you bring to it, it doesn't matter as long as you are 100 per cent professional, the coach can say, 'He is good enough', and you are prepared to lose a tooth or an eye for the club, which I am."
Despite having a fraught relationship with previous Spurs managers Martin Jol and Juande Ramos since his 2006 switch from Lens, Assou-Ekotto said he has respect for current boss Harry Redknapp.
"With Harry, it's cool. We don't speak a lot and he doesn't care if I smile or if I know who the next team we play is. If I do my job well, it's OK," said the 26-year-old.
"He is doing simple things that the previous two managers couldn't even think of. He is straightforward and he doesn't play games."
And even though he was born in France and has a French mother, Assou-Ekotto is firm on where his allegiance lies as he gears up to represent Cameroon in this year's World Cup.
"Me playing for Cameroon was a natural and normal thing. I have no feeling for the France national team; it just doesn't exist," he said.
Assou-Ekotto has been an integral part in Tottenham's inspired Premier League campaign which sees the North London outfit on the brink of a fourth place finish and a spot in next year's UEFA Champions League.
But even with the lure of possible European glory, the laidback attitude of Tottenham's full-back still does not change as he prepares to face Bolton at White Hart Lane.
He added: "It would be good for the team, the club and the supporters... they'd enjoy it.
"But for me, it would be just another set of games. When we play Liverpool and Chelsea, it's like the Champions League anyway for me..."