Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed he blocked midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson from making a January move to Reading and insisted he still has high expectations from the player.
The Iceland international had impressed at Swansea City on loan from Hoffenheim last season, scoring seven goals in 18 Premier League appearances. The 23-year-old was linked with a host of Premier League clubs in the summer, including Liverpool, but he finally chose to join Spurs.
However, Sigurdsson has failed to establish himself at White Hart Lane, managing just six starts out of the club's 24 league games so far. With the arrival of Lewis Holtby in January and the form of summer signings Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele, the Reading academy product has fallen further down Villas-Boas' pecking order. However, the manager says he rates the midfielder highly and still has plans for him.
"Yeah obviously he's a player that means a lot to Reading, from their academy. He's a player that [Reading manager] Brian [McDermott] appreciates and probably could have been a big boost for them. But he's a player that we rate very highly, we brought him here after his amazing contribution for Swansea last year and he's a player that we have high expectations for," the Daily Mail quoted Villas-Boas as saying.
"Probably this season at the moment is not going to the level that he wants, but obviously the step is much more difficult than it was at Swansea last year. But he's a player that we believe a lot in, and in his future here. We couldn't allow him to leave. Players are happy when they play more but without disrespecting Reading, I think the ambitions for Tottenham are higher and I think the player appreciates that he has to overcome this tough environment where he lives," the Portuguese tactician added.
Tottenham face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on 3 February as they continue to hunt a Champions League spot for next season.