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Japhet Tanganga talks Tottenham debut, facing Mane and Salah, right-back role and staying forever

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Japhet Tanganga's first thought as he walked off after his Premier League debut was to find his dad, who had travelled the short distance from Hackney to witness his son hold his own against Liverpool.

“He was really pleased,” Tanganga, 20, told Standard Sport after making his second appearance in four days in Tuesday night’s 2-1 FA Cup third-round replay win over Middlesbrough.

I was so happy.” Tanganga endured sleepless nights after being told by Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho on Tuesday last week that he would be starting against runaway League leaders Liverpool, but he was more relaxed before Boro’s visit, having performed well against Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Co. “I had felt nervous building up to [Liverpool], a couple of times I barely slept,” he admitted.

“Obviously after the Liverpool game people were congratulating me but I just wanted to move onto the next one,” Tanganga added.

“But no matter if it’s your debut, you’ve got to concentrate, you’re out there to do a job.

“Obviously beforehand [I was thinking] those two [Mane and Salah] are probably up there with the best — Mane’s the African player of the year.” Tanganga, who was born in London to Congolese parents and has represented England at youth level, added: “But leading into the game, the boys were just encouraging me.

"They’re different but they’re still at a high level and you’re doing it every day so you should be able to handle it.” In fact, Tanganga handled it so well, he kept his place for Tuesday night's replay win, as goals from Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela set up a fourth-round clash at Southampton on Saturday week.
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