Kenyan international Victor Wanyama has finally come clean on how frustrated he was with the way English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs treated him towards the end of his career at the North London-based outfit.
The Harambee Stars captain left Spurs for Major Super League club Montreal Impact in March-signing a three and half year deal-having been restricted to only 24 minutes in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season which he made only four appearances.
Wanyama enjoyed a seven-year stint in the Premier League since joining Southampton in 2013 from Scottish giants Celtic before moving to Spurs in 2016, but a nagging knee injury derailed his career as he fell down the pecking order.
Though the defensive midfielder’s move to Canadian club-managed by Arsenal legend Thierry Henry-took many of his fans by surprise, he insists he wanted to get his happiness back.
“Most of them understood that I needed to get my happiness back and the only way to do that was to come and enjoy playing football again,” Wanyama told Canadian website CBC.
“I was frustrated with how I was treated (at Tottenham) and it was bad.
“I lost a little bit of passion. For me to lose passion? I’m the guy that loves the game. I was so frustrated and I just wasn’t happy.”
Wanyama was poised to join Belgian giants Club Brugge in the January transfer window only for the deal to collapse on the transfer deadline day. He then decided to remain at Spurs until Montreal came for his services thanks to Henry’s influence.
“I was frustrated. I wanted to get my happiness back, my football happiness back. That’s when the manager here, Thierry (Henry) called me and asked if I wanted to play. And I said yes,” Wanyama said.
He made 97 appearances for Spurs in all competitions and scored seven goals, including the opening goal in the 2-1 victory over Manchester United in the last game at the White Hart Lane Stadium.
But he will be fondly remembered for the thunderbolt in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool on February 4, 2018 as well as his header that gave Celtic a surprise halftime lead in the 2-1 victory over Barcelona in a 2012 Champions League group match at the Celtic Park.
His screamer at the Anfield was eventually voted by the Premier League and Spurs supporters’ club members as their goal of the month (February) and season respectively.
However, he had found regular game-time difficult to come by this campaign with the injuries affecting his form since Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs manager in November last year.
But contrary to what many have suggested, Wanyama says the Portuguese manager was not the source of his falling out with his former club.
He claims his ‘troubles’ were with the top management and they started when he suffered a knee injury in 2017.
“The first thing (Mourinho) told me, he was wondering why I wasn’t playing. I have to be playing. The problem wasn’t with the coach if you ask me. The problem was a little bit upstairs and they didn’t give me a chance,” said Wanyama.
“I was not given the chance to come back.
“They tried to frustrate me. They gave me one game after four months, or three months, so it was a little bit tough.”
Wanyama’s last appearance for Tottenham came during the 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stages, when he came on for the last eight minutes of the game.
But his search for happiness in Montreal has since been temporarily halted by the Covid-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world.
Since making his debut in Montreal’s 2-1 defeat to C.D. Olimpia in leg one of the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final on March 10, Wanyama has been forced to train indoors after all sporting activities were suspended due to the virus.
“It’s been tough, I just moved in and I haven’t even had a chance to get to know the city well. Everything happened so fast,” said Wanyama.