The former England international spent two seasons in North London, making more than 70 appearances for the club, collecting a League Cup winners medal along the way.
Speaking exclusively to the EFL ahead of the Carabao Cup Quarter-Finals this week, Bent discusses his time at the club, Tottenham’s season so far, the Mourinho effect and the importance of the Carabao Cup.
Darren Bent on:
Tottenham’s season so far…
“They’ve been on absolute fire, I think they’ve been sensational so far this season. People questioned them defensively because that was the weakest part of their team, but they’ve somehow managed to find a way to stop leaking goals. All eyes were on Gareth Bale when he came back, but he hasn’t played too much of a part yet in all honesty which is credit to the rest of the team, I think his return gave everyone a lift and they’ve just stepped up.
“Heung-min Son at the minute is unstoppable, he and Kane have been superb, they’re the obvious two that stand out. The way they’re playing together is incredible, they’re both scoring goals, they’re both sharing the ball and both getting their fair share of assists. When you’ve got players like that at one end of the pitch, you always know you’re in with a chance of getting a goal.
“And for me, Hojbjerg has been a bit of an unsung hero so far this season as well. When Spurs signed him, I wasn’t sure and it didn’t make much sense to me, but he’s gone in there and done exactly what Jose Mourinho wanted him to do. He’s been superb so I think I owe him an apology. They've just been brilliant to watch so far and have a real opportunity this season of winning something. What that something is I don’t know, but I’m sure they’ll be there or thereabouts to win a trophy this season.”
On the Mourinho effect…
“I think Jose Mourinho has gone into Spurs and just changed everyone’s mindset. I think he’s come in because he’s someone who can get them over that final line and win a trophy. Tottenham shouldn’t have the mindset of being a ‘nearly’ team, and I think Mourinho has given these players genuine belief that with him in charge they can get over the line and achieve things that he squad is capable of.
"Wherever he has been, he has won trophies and I think that he sort of mindset he’s brought into this squad and at the moment the players are showing that on the pitch.
“I think if anyone is going to help them win this competition, it’s going to be him this season. If you were looking for a manager who could get the job done and who has got history with the League Cup, it’s Jose Mourinho."
On his own League Cup experiences with Spurs…
“Beating Chelsea in 2008 was very special, because you’ve got to say back then if you look at the two teams head to head, Chelsea were ahead of Spurs. But those celebrations at the end of that game were special, you could see it all around the football club and the fans.
“For me though, I took as much satisfaction the following year even though we lost. I played that whole game against Manchester United and it was a great feeling to play in a cup final and to know that you played your part in the game. They're just generally great days for your club. Hearing the fans sing at Wembley, seeing your families and having that opportunity to win some silverware, cup finals really are special days for any club.”
On the importance of a cup final…
“It’s so important, especially for teams like Spurs. You can see how much it means to them and we could see it with our fans back in 2008, you just knew how much winning a trophy meant to them, you can see the passion on their faces. But it’s always a special day, as is any cup final and you’ll always remember it.
“I always look at Manchester City who have won the League Cup the last few years, they have this mentality of winning the League Cup and getting one trophy in the bag, and then moving onto winning the next one. I like the timing of the Carabao Cup for that reason, if you can get to a final and win it, no matter where you are in the league, it can just set you up for the rest of the season. It gives you a boost, because if you win that trophy or have a good cup run there’s nothing stopping you achieving more and carrying that momentum into the rest of the season.”
On Harry Kane’s influence…
“In terms of his all-round game and impact, I think this season is the best I’ve seen him play. The way he brings others into play, his combination with Son, they’re scoring, they’re assisting, he’s having a really good season and has been superb so far. If he can continue this form and stays fit, I think Spurs will have a really good chance of winning something this season.”
On Stoke City in the Quarter-FInal…
“If you played Stoke on a Saturday afternoon, it was generally a bad place to go, but if you got them on a Tuesday night at 7.45pm it was a horrible place to play! Obviously fans play a big part in that and there won’t be any there on Wednesday night, but it really is a tough place to go, especially if you don’t get the first goal.
"Stoke are having a very good season as well, defensively they’ve got one of the best records in the Championship this season and I really like Nick Powell as a player. If they can stay defensively solid against Spurs, it’ll be a tough game for Spurs."
On Spurs’ chances of winning the Carabao Cup…
“I think they have. They’ve got the right man in charge to win the competition this year, he respects the League Cup and always has and that’s key for me. There are still some big teams left in the competition so it’s not going to be easy, but you’d have to say with as well as they’re playing at the minute they’ve got as good a chance as anyone.
"It’s a great opportunity to win some silverware and I’m really looking forward to the tie on Wednesday night.”