Japhet Tanganga not focused on Tottenham future as he concentrates on keeping up impressive performance level at Millwall


Japhet Tanganga is not giving any thought to his long-term future as he prioritises delivering more big performances for Millwall.

The Tottenham loanee scored the first goal after Neil Harris’ return as boss last month in a 2-1 victory at Southampton. And Tanganga was in the right place at the right time – the 90th minute – to head home George Saville’s corner and earn a 1-0 home win over Birmingham City on Saturday.

The former England U21 international’s displays for the South London club since Harris was appointed head coach have led to plenty in the club’s fanbase hoping a permanent move could be thrashed out in the summer.

But Tanganga, who did not make a single appearance for Bundesliga side Augsburg in a loan that was aborted in January, is happy to live in the moment.

“I haven’t played a lot of football in a while, so that is my main focus,” he told the South London Press. “I got the chance to come to Millwall and do that.

“Whatever happens in the summer or later on, in a way I don’t really care about it – because I am focusing on now, Millwall and getting the points we need to do as well as we can in the league.

“At the beginning it was hard for me because I hadn’t played enough games – I was trying to get up to the rhythm and find my feet.

“The thing for me with this loan was making sure I was available and playing football, because I missed a lot of it at the start of the season, and that is the way it is going now.

“You also want the results. They weren’t going our way at the start but things have changed now.”

Tanganga had not scored at senior level before his header at Southampton looped in – he was denied by the crossbar in Spurs’ FA Cup win at Wycombe Wanderers in January 2021.

The immediate aftermath of him breaking the deadlock at St Mary’s Stadium was staying on the turf to receive treatment.

“The ball came in from George (Saville) and I heard Coops shout: ‘Japh, this is your ball’,” recalled Tanganga.

“I just looked to get a flick on it and thankfully it went in. I took quite a hefty collision on my neck (from Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu).

“I couldn’t celebrate. I was in pain but the boys were telling me: ‘The ball’s gone in – you’ve scored mate’.

“It felt like whiplash. I had a throbbing feeling all across my head. I’m all good now though.”

Tanganga’s goal against Birmingham could be very big when the final numbers are crunched at the start of May.

He said: “I didn’t know what to do afterwards – it was last-minute and your adrenaline is going. I ran to George, who had assisted me again. I hugged him and just got around everyone.  It was a great feeling.

“My aim before the ball came in was to free myself. The whole game they were tight on us from set-pieces. Thankfully I got the space.”

Tanganga has started all four matches under Harris. The last time he managed that league sequence at Tottenham was the start of the
2020-21 season.

“It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a run of games like that – for various reasons,” said the 24-year-old. “It is showing that I can do it continuously and that my body is in good condition.

“I’m thankful to the manager for trusting me – to keep playing me.

“He has been very good – very vocal in telling us what he wants from us, keeping it simple and not overcomplicating it.

“The boys are really enjoying his character around the building. He has played and managed here, so he knows what is required to be part of this team and club.”

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