Belfast Telegraph

Footballers must set right example, says Redknapp

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp claims all footballers have a duty to be role models - on and off the pitch.

Fabio Capello is expected to announce on Friday whether John Terry will keep the England captaincy following newspaper allegations the Chelsea skipper had an affair with the former partner of international team-mate Wayne Bridge.

Redknapp, uncle to Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard, took a strong stance earlier this season against Tottenham winger David Bentley - fining the player after he was charged with a drink-driving offence.

Ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup fourth-round replay at Leeds, Redknapp stressed players have a moral obligation to behave in the proper manner.

However he stressed the Terry situation was a matter for Capello alone.

"John Terry, as a player, is a fantastic centre-half," Redknapp said.

"Terry is a leader when he plays. He organises and bosses people on the pitch.

"I do not want to be second-guessing what the England manager is going to do. I am sure he will make a decision."

Redknapp feels players should be focused on "setting examples".

"There have to be standards, really, I think with young footballers and everybody else," Redknapp said.

"Footballers are young men, but they are role models and they are setting examples to kids out there - and they have to set the right examples.

"Kids look up to them every day and wear their shirts, they are in the public eye and they get very well paid to be in the public eye.

"When we were kids, we all idolised footballers and it's no different now - they all turn up to games with a name and number on the back, whether it's Lampard, [Steven] Gerrard or [Jermain] Defoe."

Former West Ham player Redknapp added: "They get more education now. They go to college, we have got education people - we did not get any of that when we were kids, we just played football.

"Society has changed, it is a different world out there.

"They move in different circles than we ever moved in when we were players.

"I played for a club in the East End of London and we never moved out of the East End, we did not know where the West End was.

"We were part of the community almost, players lived where fans lived - it is just different now."

Redknapp, though, feels modern-day professionals perhaps do not always get the best support from those supposed to be looking out for them.

"They do not come to me and ask me for advice - they have all got agents now, who they pay fortunes to, who are supposed to be helping them and getting them through any little problems they may have," the Spurs boss said.

"But most of the agents only turn up when their players are signing a new contract and they want their cut of the deal.

"They are the people who are supposed to be helping their clients."

Redknapp nevertheless maintains individuals have to be accountable for their own actions.

"You can sit them down and talk to them about things, whether it is going out or behaving in public, but you can't be with them 24 hours a day, and who knows what goes on behind closed doors?" the Tottenham boss said.

"From a manager's point of view, it is impossible to know what they do with their spare time, but if they do not want to be role models they should not be in football.

"However, you can't suddenly turn somebody into something they are not - if it's in you, to be whatever you are, unfortunately that is how you live."

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