Saturday, 1 October 2011

Wizard Taarabt left Martin Jol spellbound


Martin Jol fell under the spell of QPR midfielder Adel Taarabt so totally that he tried to sign him three times.

The Dutchman was in charge of ­Tottenham when they brought the man known as ‘The Wizard’ to England as a temperamental teenager.

Jol was so impressed with the Moroccan’s talents that following his north London exit, he tried to take him to two other clubs.

Only Spurs’ hefty price-tag prevented 22-year-old Taarabt from teaming up with Jol twice more.

They come face-to-face today with Jol fearing the man who once saved his skin. He explained: “Damien Camolli recommended him but I knew about him and wanted to sign him for Spurs. He was a gamble and unfortunately didn’t break through.

“After I went abroad I tried to sign him at Ajax and with Hamburg but they ­wanted too much for him – or maybe I just wanted him on the cheap. He never played 90 ­minutes in the first team at Tottenham but he saved our necks against West Ham when we beat them 4-3 in the League Cup.

“He came on and nutmegged somebody, as he likes to, and won a free-kick that Berbatov scored to make it 3-3. Paul Stalteri scored the winner.”

Such talent is what made Neil Warnock take Taarabt to Loftus Road but it has not all been plain sailing.

“He didn’t frustrate me, he made me happy,” Jol said.

“But I can imagine Neil will be frustrated if he keeps on doing the same things.

“He has varied his game now. He’s playing one-touch, two-touch and he’s getting better and better. He’s one of the best No.10s around.”

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