Manager a mentor for Sears

Gianfranco Zola has spoken at length on the eve of Tottenham Hotspur's visit about Freddie Sears and the way he has taken the young striker under his wing.

The manager sat the 19-year-old down and shared his own experiences as a young player coming through behind Diego Maradona at Napoli, when he had to bide his time after an initial explosion into the first team. "I spoke to him about my first year in Naples. In the beginning I was in the team more regularly because Maradona was out. I was playing more regularly, quite well. Then he came back and I didn't play very much from then.

"I keep saying that has been my most important year because I learned so much. That's what I told him. Even if he is not playing much right now the learning process is on and he has to remember that he is still learning because sometimes at that age people play one or two games and they think 'I have learned everything, I played well so that is job done'. It is not like that.

"This is just the beginning. This is the moment where they have to keep the same attitude because that is the difference, the attitude. Then I was ready when the moment came. He will be much better than when he first played. That is what I am aiming for. He is going to have another chance for sure and he has to be ready for that.

"I know he is going to get his goals. I saw him play in the reserves and he keeps cracking goals all the time … it's one thing playing for the youth team and scoring, it's another thing playing for the main team. Sometimes in the main team you play one or two games and come off so it makes it a bit more difficult. He will have chance again and I am sure he will do what he knows to do best and what he does best is score."