Belfast Telegraph

Redknapp rules himself out of Chelsea job

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Harry Redknapp believes that the vacant managerial post at Chelsea would be a "dream job", but not for him.

Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed on Sunday and, rather than scorning Roman Abramovich's impatience, Redknapp praised the billionaire owner for his investing in the club.

"It's a dream job for someone to go and make a success of it," Redknapp said yesterday, ahead of tonight's FA Cup fifth-round replay against Stevenage. "The owner has spared no expense, he's built the most incredible training ground, and they buy players at the top level.

"So many people would love that job with the backing the manager gets, but you have to make a success of it – that's the rules. If you don't, you're not going to last. But if you do well, the sky's the limit."

Redknapp did insist, though, that he was not interested in that particular vacancy. "That's all I need," he joked. "It would be difficult, I wouldn't be able to come back to north London. I'll pass on that one."

Jermain Defoe will be brought into the Spurs team tonight, and his manager believes that, despite limited chances this season, he still has "every chance" of making the England squad for Euro 2012.

"I'm sure he could," Redknapp said when asked whether Defoe could still be part of the squad. "There's a shortage of strikers. If you look round England, Darren Bent's out for the season. It's certainly a problem position for England."

Redknapp did make clear that any changes tonight were to ensure a fit and fresh team, rather than merely gifting fringe players a chance. "It's not a case of I'm playing players because they need a game, I want to win," he said. "I'm going to put a very strong team out. I wouldn't be taking liberties with this game." Gareth Bale and Scott Parker are likely to play, having missed Sunday's defeat to Manchester United with illness and suspension respectively.

Spurs will have the technical edge; the key is to get their mentality right. "If they go out with their attitude not right at the start of the game you find yourself in trouble," he said. "You've just got to go out and not take the opposition lightly. We've got to realise this is going to be a tough game."

The Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day is particularly excited about tonight's game. He was at Tottenham as a youngster, playing four first-team games, but none at home. "This will be the first proper game I've played there," he explained. "I am going to be very proud to be out there.

"I was offered a YTS contract at Spurs and within two weeks was playing my first reserve game," Day recalled. "At the end of my first season I was in the first-team squad twice at the age of 16. I almost made my debut at Oldham at 16 but Ian Walker played with one knee hanging off. I left the club when I was 20 having been sub 52 times.

"There will be 20 to 30 guys behind the goal that I know personally. I got a good reception from them in the first game. They were chanting Tottenham-related songs to me. I will look at that as a proud moment."

Probable teams

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Cudicini; Walker, Dawson, Nelsen, Rose; Lennon, Livermore, Parker, Bale; Defoe, Adebayor.

Stevenage (4-4-1-1): Day; Henry, Ashton, Roberts, Laird; Wilson, Byrom, Bostwick, Long; Reid; May.

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