CORLUKA: I'll play anywhere to be part of Harry Redknapp's revolution
PUBLISHED: 11:15 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:35 07 September 2010
IT S a big week for Tottenham s versatile defender Vedran Corluka. The Croatian international, signed on transfer deadline from Manchester City for £8.5million, returns to Eastlands on Sunday with rejuvenated Spurs under new boss Harry Redknapp. Before th
IT'S a big week for Tottenham's versatile defender Vedran Corluka. The Croatian international, signed on transfer deadline from Manchester City for £8.5million, returns to Eastlands on Sunday with rejuvenated Spurs under new boss Harry Redknapp.
Before that game Corluka, who played in two different positions in Sunday's shock 2-1 home win over Liverpool, will be a frustrated spectator when Dynamo Zagreb arrive at the Lane in the Uefa Cup this week.
"They are two special matches for me," Corluka exclusively told Ham&High Sport.
"Many Croatians came over to watch the Liverpool game and have stayed on for the Zagreb game," said Corluka, who is eligible for Europe having played for City earlier in the competition.
"I will be in the stands and dying to play. Hopefully, we will win and one goal will be enough."
The 22-year-old, who made his debut against Aston Villa after missing the opening three league games, is really looking forward to his return to City - he played 46 times for them last season.
"Manchester City gave me the opportunity to play in this league and I owe them a lot of respect," said Corluka. "I met a lot of people there who were good to me, and hopefully they will do well - but not on Sunday. Hopefully, we will get a good result."
The Croatian, who has shown his versatility by partnering both Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate in central defence - under both Juande Ramos and Redknapp - is also looking forward to locking horns with City's superstar Robinho.
"I have not played against him before - he is world class," said Corluka. "I think whichever player is involved against him will have a problem. But I will do my best to stop him.
"It will be a new experience for me. I am a young player and I am still learning from Ledley and Woody. But it is all good."
Corluka has no qualms being moved about in Spurs' defence. He partnered Woodgate in King's absence at The Emirates last week and on Sunday started off at right-back. But Redknapp changed tactics at half-time, going to a 4-4-2 system, and switched Corluka to left-back.
"I will do anything for the team," he said. "I will play in whatever position the boss wants me to play in. It was something new for me against Liverpool.
"Harry asked me at half-time if I could play in that position. I said I could and would do my best and he said that's fine for me. Of course, every player would like to settle in one position. But when I am playing I am satisfied. The most important thing is to play."
The Croatian is delighted - and somewhat mystified - with Spurs' transformation under Redknapp. "I don't really know what's changed," he admitted: "Harry has come in and our game has changed. We are playing much better than before. But against Liverpool we had lots of luck. We did not have that before and now everything is going the right way.
"It was a great victory against Liverpool. We now have seven points against good teams. It was a very good week for us. Everyone is very happy. You could see around the stadium that people were happy and the atmosphere is different to what it was."
But Corluka is not getting carried away after taking four points off two of the top four clubs. "I think every team can compete with the top four teams," he said. "Every game is a fight against the top four, everybody wants to beat them. It was similar on Sunday - last against first and a very good win for us."
Corluka left City just as the billions arrived from the Middle East - but he has no regrets. "As I say I wish City all the best and they are a great club. But what has happened would not have made any difference. I wanted to come to Tottenham."
And one of the main reasons was to link up with his fellow Croatian - and best friend - Luka Modric. "It is good for me [to be playing in the same team] and also good for Luka," he said. "It is much easier for me to settle here and also for him to settle. So it is good for both of us."