You need safe hands to lift a trophy, and there are not many Spurs legends with safer hands than goalkeeping legend Paul Robinson, who was the last keeper to win silverware with the club.  

Robinson was between the sticks in 2008 when Spurs defeated Chelsea to win the Carabao Cup, and 13 years on from that famous day he looks back on the occasion he labels the best in his career.

The 41-year-old is remembered fondly at the club by supporters, and the feeling is reciprocated for Robinson, who says the bond that he had with the Spurs faithful still exists to this day.

He said: “My four years at Spurs were the best years of my career. I went there when I was young, and it was a big move for me when I left Leeds at the time. I wasn’t guaranteed to be the No.1 there but I had a very good pre-season and I struck up a special rapport with the Spurs fans. Every time I played at White Hart Lane it was really special.

“One of my favourite memories was playing there on my birthday and the whole stadium was singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. That was a bit special.”

League Cup winning memories

But another one of Robinson’s memories that stick out is of winning the League Cup against Chelsea in 2008, and he draws comparisons between the current Spurs squad and the class of 2008, who were heading into the cup final facing a monumental task against high-flying Chelsea.

He said: “We were struggling in the league at the time, and we went into the game as huge underdogs. Juande Ramos had come in and hadn’t been able to get the results we wanted.

“He left me out of the side on a few occasions, and there were a few changes at the time. It wasn’t a harmonious dressing room in the build-up (to the cup final). I don’t think many people gave us much of a chance in the Chelsea game.”

Robinson claims that Ramos changed tack in the build-up to the final and allowed the players to let their hair down in the days leading up the match at Wembley.

He said: “I remember the manager changed type, and we went away to a hotel before the game and did a few team-building exercises. It was completely against his character.

“We were told to pack an overnight bag with old clothes, plus your suit for the game at the weekend. Then we did archery and drove dune buggies. It had a stag do feel to it!

“Looking back, it was a masterstroke from him because it took our minds off the game and it allowed us to perform the way that we did on the day. We were deserved winners on the day for the way that we played.”

Lifting the trophy

The former England No.1 also maintains that any recent form can be forgotten about if the current group of players managed to deliver a trophy for the supporters. And the feeling of giving back to the Spurs fans is something that will live with him for a long time following the 2008 success.

He said: “It was a dream come true, and something I’ve always wanted to do (to lift a trophy at Wembley). At that point, I knew my Spurs career was coming to an end because of the relationship with the manager, so it was fantastic to be able to give back something to the supporters at that time.

“Winning a trophy meant so much. You look at the talk of the current squad and how long it’s been since Spurs last lifted a trophy. I’m 41 now and I was the last player to get my hands on a trophy, and for a club like Spurs, we should be winning more silverware.

“The pressure on the players now to win something was the same back then for us. It had been a long time since any Spurs player had lifted a trophy, so I think it was a feeling of relief as well as ecstasy when we managed to win it.”

Key players for Spurs

Robinson was put on the spot and asked which players will be key to winning Sunday’s match, and it’s no surprise that he singles out Harry Kane, although the frontman could be facing a race against time to be declared fit for Sunday. But Robinson believes Kane deserves a winning medal more than anyone.

He said: “Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are the obvious ones (who will play a big part). The partnership they’ve struck up and the football they’ve played at times has been fantastic. I think we’ve hugely missed Sonny as of late.

“But they also have to shore up at the back and cope with what Manchester City have got. At times Spurs have been criticised for playing too defensively and playing on the counter-attack, but I think that’s the way to play against City because of the quality they’ve got in the final third.

“We saw how well Leeds did at the Etihad to beat them last week, and that’s the blueprint for how to beat Man City. It’s not going to be easy but the central defensive partnership is going to be key to winning the game.”

He added: “If anyone deserves a trophy it’s Harry Kane. The service that he’s given to the club over the years and the goals he’s scored, if anyone deserves some silverware as well as the fans, it’s Harry. I’m sure he would love to do it for the fans.

“He doesn’t often have a bad game, and he’s got the ability to affect the whole team’s performance. If he plays well and drags the others along with him then we’ve got a real chance.

“It’s also important for the short-term future for the club (to win a trophy). There have obviously been noises about Harry’s future, but I think winning this trophy would put all of that to bed. It gives the club the chance to build for European football again and keeping Harry at the club is vitally important.”

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