Former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville has drawn comparisons with Tottenham Hotspur’s current side to David O’Leary’s Leeds United side from the turn of the millennium.
The Whites haven’t tasted top-flight success since the late 1990s and early 2000s when David O’Leary managed to build a very youthful side that competed both domestically and on the European stage, but without any silverware to show for it.
The era was coined ‘O’Leary’s Babies’ by many due to the crop of talented players coming through at the same time, but their lack of experience meant that they couldn’t maintain title charges consistently.
It was a tug-of-war for the title between Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal and Sir Alex’s Manchester United with Leeds maintaining a push for the Champions League places, whilst putting together a solid run to the semi-final in the 2000/2001 season.
There have been similarities cropping up in the recent exploits of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign as Tottenham Hotspur boss, with an awful lot of pressure put on the top sides for silverware and even a Champions League final appearance last season.
An era that yielded no trophies for both came as quite a surprise to many, considering that they were consistently challenging at the top end of the table.
Speaking on a retro Monday Night Football panel on Sky Sports, Gary Neville reflected on that Leeds United side under O’Leary, calling on the similarities with Pochettino’s Spurs side. He stated: “I think Tottenham are the modern equivalent of that Leeds team.
“Tottenham haven’t gone on to do what they should have done – maybe they should have won the league the year Leicester won it and could have won a Champions League with a little more luck.
“This Tottenham team is now coming to an end or has come to an end. Teams like Leeds caught you up but never went on to do it. There was something missing. Clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have had history to build on to win trophies, there’s a mentality within the club to win trophies. Leeds were trying to build that mentality during that period.
“You always felt Leeds were getting nearer and nearer – like Tottenham were getting nearer and nearer. And then you think, how are they going to get back? Leeds has always felt like a huge club.
“When I get asked what is a big club I always think of Leeds United. The feeling when you go and play football there is unbelievable – it’s different.”
Have these players featured for both Leeds and Huddersfield Town?
It’s a very strong comparison to make from Neville as there are clear things from that Tottenham side that resemble O’Leary’s Leeds side.
Both teams could have arguably done more with their momentum than they did, but they can still look back on some memorable moments.
Leeds will be hoping that these days return soon with a potential promotion back to the Premier League on the cards this season.
Meanwhile, Spurs appear to be in a transitional period under Jose Mourinho with a number of positions needing strengthening going forward.
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