Sutton's Ben Goodliffe claims Tottenham releasing him was 'best thing that's happened to me' as he eyes shock promotion

BEN GOODLIFFE thought it was the end of the world when released by Tottenham as a kid.

But now the Sutton United defender understands the North London giants spotted something in his game that is now seeing him reap the benefits.

Goodliffe, 22, was signed by Spurs as a centre-forward but they turned him into a defender.

And the Watford-born ace has had a whirlwind three seasons since joining the Us.

First he was in a side that successfully kept themselves in the National League, then won promotion to the the EFL for the first time in the cub’s history before making a Wembley final in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Now he has a chance to win promotion to League One with the team right in the mix as they host Bradford.


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In the club’s first EFL season, with two games left, they can still nab the third automatic promotion spot or one of the four play-off spots.

They sit in seventh, the last play-off position, three points behind third-placed Northampton — but are only two points above Swindon and four in front of Salford and Tranmere.

It is all a far cry from the day he was told he was not good enough for Tottenham.

He told SunSport: “When you get released by a club like that you suddenly have doubts in yourself.

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“I have a good family who picked me up, telling me to keep enjoying my football and get back into the habit of getting a smile on your face again.

"After all, that’s why we get into football in the first place because it’s something we love.

“At that time I wasn’t — but it was the best thing that happened to me, leaving Tottenham.”

Goodliffe explains how now on reflection he understands all those years he spent coming through the youth ranks were not a waste of time.

And actually his game probably would never have developed to where it is today had it not been for the sharp-eyed Spurs coaches.

He said: “I had signed as a centre forward at Spurs. I was an attacking player and everyone wants to score goals at that age.

“But it was recognised I had some defensive traits in me.

“I got a moved after six years to centre half and playing right-back and, being a young kid, I wasn’t happy with it myself but Spurs could see something in me.

“My performances weren’t as great because people were physically stronger and I got released on the back of that.

“I can’t be upset because that’s the position I’ve found myself playing for the last five years and I’m thriving off it.”

Goodliffe played alongside defender Japhet Tanganga at Spurs and keeper Brandon Austin who are both still at the club.

He also played with midfielders Marcus Edwards, currently in Portugal with Sporting, and George Marsh, who is at AFC Wimbledon — as well as Borussia Monchengladbach striker Keanan Bennetts.

But many of them are not in the professional ranks and Goodliffe himself dropped into non-League, where Boreham Wood snapped him up for their academy before he signed a two-year pro contract at Wolves.

However, it was at Dagenham on-loan in the National League where he cut his teeth, making 33 appearances, before Wolves released him and he joined Sutton.

He has not looked back and added: “There’s a lot of pressure when you’re at a club like Tottenham… not just from them but your friends and family to make it too.

“The ratio of players who do come out of the academy and make it to the top is slim.

“You must just have a level head and enjoy your football — play your best football and your time will come.

“I’ve now passed 150 appearances and what we’ve already achieved at Sutton is nothing short of remarkable.

“My ambition in the game is to just keeping doing well in the job I’ve set out to do — but you never know where the club can take you. 

“Everyone wants to play higher and we’re on the brink of promotion.

"If we can achieve back-to-back promotions from the National League to League One then that is yet another step up and you never know how far you could go.”

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