Thursday, 6 May 2010

Redknapp proves Premier League discriminates against English managerial talent

Harry Redknapp's achievement in securing Tottenham's first-ever appearance in the Champions League is every bit as significant as his FA Cup win with Portsmouth two years ago.
It shouldn't be forgotten just how much disarray Spurs were in when Redknapp replaced Juande Ramos literally overnight. They've gone from ‘two points in eight games’ to 70 from 37 inside two seasons. The oddball Wembley defeat to Pompey is the only black mark this campaign.
Spurs’ resurgence under the stewardship of their cockney manager's been astronomical. In a matter of 555 days, the former West Ham winger's turned the club’s fortunes totally on their head, steering them from the clutches of relegation to what will be their highest league finish in 10 years.

Sam Allardyce often complained that he'd have got more of a sniff of the top jobs in the Premier League, if he were called Samuele Allardice (it's in Italics for a reason, folks!) Now, Harry's made Spurs one of the more coveted jobs in English football through force of will - and with an all-British coaching staff.

And 2010 marks the resurgence of the English manager in the world game. Joining Redknapp in raising eyebrows are Fulham's Europa League hero Roy Hodgson and the former wally with the brolly, Steve McClaren, who's just won the Eredivisie with Twente Enschede.

The one-nil win over Manchester City at Eastlands, Tottenham's last rival for that coveted place, shows they have the application and big-match mentality to give the Champions League "a good old go" as Harry might say.

Even by last January's transfer window, Redknapp had assembled a decent squad with a strong-looking bench. Much stronger than their competition in Aston Villa, who picked from their inexperienced but talented youth team, Manchester City, who were still garnering a new team spirit and Liverpool, who under the leadership of Steven Gerrard and Rafa Benitez, fell away under pressure to perform.

Redknapp's flexible and pro-active enough to realise his current squad's not good enough to reach the business end of Europe's elite competition. His wheeler-dealing in the market is well documented - and now he'll be able to attract top players to the club.

But perhaps rather than wholesale changes, Redknapp may only need to tweak the squad, such is the talent and spirit within it. From Crouch to King, from Gomes to Danny Rose, Tottenham have the basis to build on their phenomenal season.

They might be about to embark on their first adventure in Europe at this level, but don't expect Tottenham Hotspur to roll over against the big sides.

Click here: Why Mourinho should think twice before a Premier League return.