Rafael Van der Vaart is the latest Spurs star to admit that their slow start against Stoke was the key to defeat on Sunday.

Tottenham found themselves 2-0 down at the interval after Matthew Etherington's brace at the Britannia Stadium, and whilst Emmanuel Adebayor pulled one back for the visitors, they were unable to score an equaliser.

The Dutch international playmaker was well aware of the task that he and his teammates faced when visiting the Potteries, although bad luck also played its part in the defeat.

"It's always difficult to start games when you go away to Stoke. They always put balls in the box and the crowd is always behind them. It's always difficult, but we were unlucky after conceding those two early goals," he told Spurs TV online.

"Of course (the run was going to end at some stage), it's just a game that we've lost now, and we have to be looking ahead to the next game."

Elsewhere at the club, and striker Jermain Defoe has tipped club colleagues Scott Parker and Kyle Walker to become integral parts of the England setup ahead of Euro 2012 in Poland & Ukraine.

The pair have recently become more influential in Fabio Capello's squads, with Walker making his senior debut against Spain last month, and the former West Ham striker is in no doubt that they will play their part next summer.

“Scott Parker is a natural leader, someone I believe we should have had years ago. Even before the game, the things he says ... he's a born winner," Defoe told ESPN.

"When he plays the game it's like he's possessed. [He] just wants to win games and he gets everyone going. He's done well for us - a massive signing.

On Walker, he added: “[He’s] unbelievable. I've got to big up my Tottenham mates anyway. A young lad who's come into the team, but he's got pace and power - for me he's got everything to be England right-back for the next ten years.

"He's still young, he's still got a lot to learn - but he's been unbelievable for us at the club. Someone like Kyle Walker is never fazed anyway - he's confident, he knows he's a good player. [He's] a natural athlete who I think could do well at [international] level."

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#Jermain Defoe
#Rafael Van der Vaart