Football; Spurs' Klinsmann clone

Coventry City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
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The Independent Online
Unhelpful though it may be to be measured against an illustrious predecessor, Steffen Iversen clearly has no problem with being likened to Jurgen Klinsmann. Indeed, by choosing to wear No 18 on his back - it was the German's number at White Hart Lane - he invites comparison. Does he know that this is the shirt with which Alan Sugar would not wash his car?

Evidently not. Like Klinsmann, Iversen is 6ft 2in and blond; and he carries his long-legged body in a way that seems too reminiscent of his predecessor to be accidental. Alert, upright, able to break instantly from a trot into a gallop, there is an unmistakable resemblance.

In fact, given that he is only 21, Tottenham's pounds 2.6m Norwegian import - signed last week from Rosenborg Trondheim - is probably revelling in the attention, which would be understandable. What is surprising is to hear Gerry Francis promoting these similarities, instead of seeking to play them down.

"He does remind me of Jurgen quite a bit with his eye for goal in the penalty box," the Tottenham manager said, apparently unconcerned at creating extra pressure for his new charge. "He is an outstanding talent and during the eight months I have been watching him around Europe I have seen him score some fantastic goals. If he can do the job that Jurgen did for us then we'll be very happy."

Where Iversen differs is that Klinsmann was 30, rich and fulfilled when he arrived in London, with at least half a mind on finishing his career in his homeland. Iversen, on the other hand, is young and hungry, respectful of those around him and, having turned his back on a European Cup quarter- final with Rosenborg, seemingly regards the English capital as the place to make his future.

Iversen made his bow at Highfield Road three days after helping Rosenborg defeat Milan at the San Siro and barely 24 hours after meeting his new teammates. In those circumstances, it was a debut of promise. He was by no means Tottenham's matchwinner - Teddy Sheringham deserves that accolade - but he won balls in the air, used possession thoughtfully and moved with intelligence. He also had a part in the winning goal, a link in the chain by which Sheringham transferred the ball from right to left that allowed Andy Sinton to end his side's losing run.

Sheringham had put Tottenham ahead in the first half when Coventry's offside trap failed. The home side's troubles increased through their own defensive lapses, which is the story of their season. It was a pity because they deserved their equaliser, no one more so than Noel Whelan, the goalscorer.

Goals: Sheringham (27) 0-1; Whelan (60) 1-1; Sinton (75) 1-2.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Ogrizovic; Borrows (Genaux 78), Williams, Daish, Shaw; Salako, Whelan, McAllister, Jess (Telfer, 78); Huckerby, Dublin. Substitutes not used: Richardson, Boland, Filan (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Calderwood, Campbell, Wilson; Fox, Nielsen (Dozzell, 85), Howells, Sinton; Iversen, Sheringham. Substitutes not used: Edinburgh, Nethercott, Allen, Bardsen (gk).

Referee: G Willard (Worthing).

Bookings: Coventry: Whelan; Tottenham: Calderwood, Sinton, Sheringham.

Man of the match: Sheringham.

Attendance: 19,675.