Harry: My World Cup gratitude to Capello
HARRY Redknapp believes that Tottenham will benefit from England s early qualification for the World Cup. The Spurs boss is confident that, with Fabio Capello's Three Lions already confirmed competitors in South Africa...
By Ben Pearce
HARRY Redknapp believes that Tottenham will benefit from England's early qualification for the World Cup.
The Spurs boss is confident that, with Fabio Capello's Three Lions already confirmed competitors in South Africa with two qualifiers to spare, his home-grown contingent have all the encouragement they need to pull out all the stops.
And with Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon, Jermaine Jenas, Ledley King and even Tom Huddlestone eyeing a place in the national squad next summer, Redknapp knows that motivation is the least of his worries during this campaign.
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"It's good for all the clubs who have English players, because they've got to keep playing well," said the manager. "The carrot at the end of the year is a World Cup place, and the competition is going to be fierce.
"With this manager, [Fabio Capello], if people are not performing he won't pick them - no-one's guaranteed. Obviously there's a little group that are special, but there's so many places still up for grabs that people have got to keep performing.
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"And they know they can't step out of line. Can you imagine one of them, any of those players wanting to play in the World Cup suddenly having another [episode off the field]? One or two of them have already been lucky to get away with things.
"They can't afford any more slip-ups if they want to be in that squad, but most importantly as well they've got to play well for their clubs, so if you've got a few lads on the verge of the England team it doesn't do you any harm."
Redknapp may be keen to take advantage of the battle for places at international level, but he has also highlighted the competition at White Hart Lane.
And, with key players returning from injury, the manager is convinced that his highly-motivated squad can take Spurs on to a whole new level.
"It's about good players, creating a good atmosphere for them to play in, and competition for places - people knowing they've got to play well because there's people waiting to take their place.
"No-one's complacent, look at the striking situation! They're good strikers, everyone's got to be on their toes, doing their job. Jermaine Jenas is back now, Tom Huddlestone's been in great form with [Wilson] Palacios but JJ's back pushing them.
"We've got competition in the wide places - David Bentley's making sure that Aaron keeps playing well, and Niko Kranjcar's arrived now, who I think is a terrific player. "Michael Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate are getting fit - two of the best central defenders around I think - so there's competition everywhere and it's a nice position to be in.
"It's a good group of players here, and we want to keep improving and we will keep improving until we get where we want to be.