Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Redknapp backs Shearer to save Newcastle

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has no regrets about turning down Newcastle — and he insists Alan Shearer is the right man to save their season now.

Redknapp was in the frame to replace Sam Allardyce at St James' Park at the start of last year but stayed at Portsmouth to be closer to his family, with Kevin Keegan eventually appointed.

Since Keegan's departure, Newcastle have become relegation candidates and Shearer has been brought in until the end of the season to keep them in the Barclays Premier League.

The club is still waiting for the success that fans crave, although Redknapp is happy with his decision to stay south and then join Spurs nearly six months ago.

"No, I don't regret it but Newcastle is a great club," Redknapp said. "You only have to look at the support they get and the atmosphere the fans generate.

"They have got themselves in a bit of hole this season but I think they will get out of it. I think they have three home games that could save their season."

Redknapp feels Shearer is the right man to get them out of trouble after slipping two points adrift of safety. Their next task is a trip to White Hart Lane tomorrow.

"It was a fantastic appointment," Redknapp said. "They couldn't have picked anyone better than Alan Shearer - he was the one person who could get the place a massive lift like he has.

"He has fantastic knowledge of the game and what he achieved in the game makes him one of the all-time great players. If anyone can pull Newcastle around Alan is the man to do it."

Shearer has been thrown in at the deep end - but Redknapp feels he can cope despite it being his first job in management.

"If you look at Liverpool when they took Kenny Dalglish, what a job he did there," Redknapp said. "He came straight out of playing into managing. When you have that type of knowledge that Alan has got it is not a problem."

Shearer's men will be looking to inflict only Spurs' second home defeat since Redknapp's arrival. Their run has put them in the hunt for a seventh, which should earn a place in next season's Europa League.

"If we could make Europe it would be a massive achievement to where we started, which was two points from eight games." Redknapp said.

"Staying in the Premier League was the main thing, we were in a relegation struggle and are only just out of it."

Redknapp had genuine fears about keeping Spurs in the top flight, with Newcastle now facing the prospect of being a high-profile casualty.

He said: "Your pride is at stake. You don't want to get relegated, for a club like Tottenham it would have been a disaster."

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