Woodgate returns for Spurs and says: I knew AC Milan were there for the taking

JONATHAN Woodgate told his team-mates that Milan “were there for the taking” before making his return from a 15-month absence in the last 16 of the Champions League last night.

The 31-year-old England centre-back had not played a competitive game since November 2009, but entered the fray with 30 minutes left at the San Siro to replace the injured Vedran Corluka.

“It was a great night for the club,” said Woodgate. “AC Milan are one of the giants of European football but I thought coming to the San Siro that we could beat them. I said to the lads in the changing room before the game that they were there for the taking. “The game isn’t over yet though, the second leg is going to be very hard, I’m sure. They’ll come out all guns blazing.

“There is nothing worse than when you can’t play football. Watching games is painful when you’re injured but you try to spur the lads on and give them all the confidence they need.

“The lads are full of confidence and this will only give us more. It was a great result, especially given that it’s away. It always feels better when you have won 1-0 away from home in Europe. It’s good for the fans.”

Harry Redknapp said: “I took a chance and put Jonathan on. In all fairness he hadn’t kicked a ball in for a long time. He’s had one game against a not very strong QPR team, and I just felt that his experience coming on would give us something.

“It wasn’t a case of running into channels, he didn’t have to run too much. It was just a case of being in the right place at the right time, and I felt he came on and did that for us.”