Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Spurs move was gamble, says Redknapp

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp admits leaving Portsmouth for White Hart Lane nearly a year ago was the biggest managerial gamble of his career.

Redknapp was recruited to get Spurs out of relegation trouble but almost ended last season by qualifying for Europe, with his return to Fratton Park coming this weekend.

“They (Spurs) were bottom of the league and had I failed to turn things around it would probably have been the end of my career,” said Redknapp.

“When I took over at Portsmouth for the first time it was a big challenge because, in all honesty, the club wasn't going anywhere at that point.

“Then I joined their rivals Southampton, which, looking back, was possibly crazy. And, of course, people also thought I was mad to return to Portsmouth when the club was bottom of the league.

“I really put my career on the line there, as I did when I joined Tottenham.”

After leaving Pompey, Redknapp eventually bought Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar from his former club, and all three could feature this weekend.

“I'm particularly excited about what Niko can do here,” said Defoe.

“Niko is certainly one of those who you can see will impress, I'm convinced of that, and when you look at the reported money that we paid for him, you start thinking that he may turn out to be the bargain of the season.

“It was an incredible piece of business.”

Spurs boss Redknapp has also been linked with another former Pompey player in Sulley Muntari, although the Ghana midfielder appears likely to stay at Inter Milan in January.

“I've never thought about leaving Inter next year and I intend to stay here because we can keep winning,” he said.

Jonathan Woodgate has been back in full training and Ledley King has recovered from a hamstring problem to bolster Redknapp's options at centre-back.

On-loan midfielder Jamie O'Hara cannot play against his parent club, who are keen on having him back in January even if Pompey want to extend his deal.

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