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Tottenham star forces pundit into embarrassing climbdown after winning award – ‘I made a mistake’

James Maddison and Radu Dragusin, Tottenham

A pundit has apologised for criticising Radu Dragusin

Recent Tottenham Hotspur arrival Radu Dragusin has received an apology from ex-Romania star Florin Raducioiu after having proved the pundit wrong.

After impressing at Italian club Genoa, Dragusin became the most expensive Romanian footballer of all time when Tottenham paid €30million (£25.8m) to sign him during the January transfer window. The star, who previously represented Serie A giants Juventus, has arrived in North London to provide Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven with both cover and competition.

Ange Postecoglou feels Dragusin’s capture will prove extremely useful for Tottenham as he can operate as a centre-half or as a full-back on either flank.

Dragusin has so far played five times for Spurs, which includes his substitute appearance against Aston Villa on March 10.

The 22-year-old was under pressure to perform after replacing Van De Ven due to the Dutchman’s latest injury. Dragusin will also have been wary of Villa striker Ollie Watkins, who has been in devastating form this season.

But Dragusin looked solid at defending and comfortable on the ball, which will have delighted both Postecoglou and Spurs fans. Admittedly, he struggled in the following game at Fulham, but against Villa Dragusin showed he has the potential to shine at the highest level.

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When Dragusin won Romania’s 2023 Player of the Year award in December, Raducioiu claimed he is not actually that good. The former Brescia and Espanyol striker added that attacking players should be in line for the award, instead.

However, Dragusin’s decent start to life at Spurs has seen him win Raducioiu over.

Radu Dragusin receives apology from compatriot

In an interview with Romanian outlet Orange Sport, the pundit has admitted he was too harsh when discussing Spurs’ winter signing.

“It was not a personal thing,” Raducioiu said. “It was just my reaction, maybe a bit harsh, I admit, with that word ‘shepherd’. I think I made a mistake there, I apologise, and actually I did it a few months ago.

“I understand that this Tottenham transfer took off, but nothing justified it and no one should reward him as the best player in Romania. I believe that Romania’s best player must be a show player, a player who conveys emotion to me, which Draguşin did not do. That was it, nothing personal.”

Following the win over Villa, legendary former Tottenham striker Clive Allen said of Dragusin: “I thought he was fabulous because Micky’s performance was outstanding, it was a pressure situation for him to come into, he looked really comfortable, he was calm, he was controlled.

“Yes, obviously, we had the man advantage but I just thought that again, alongside Romero, you can see the possibility of a pairing there, with Micky maybe play with three, there are lots of permutations, but the way he handled himself in the time he was on the field was fantastic.”

Dragusin is currently on international duty with Romania. He is expected to start in the upcoming friendlies against Northern Ireland and Colombia.

When returning to Spurs, Dragusin will be looking to help Postecoglou’s side qualify for the Champions League.

Spurs currently sit fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Villa with a game in hand.

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