Hodgson appointment as England manager clears the murky air around Redknapp and Tottenham
The appointment of Roy Hodgson as England manager has consequences that extend far beyond the national team. Not only are West Bromwich Albion facing the prospect of replacing Hodgson, but Tottenham Hotspur now have to readjust to a future with Harry Redknapp still in charge, after it looked for months as if it would be he who replaced Fabio Capello.
There is no way to know if the Redknapp to England speculation truly affected the performances of the Tottenham players to the extent of producing a slump that saw Spurs drop from third to fifth, but those who choose to make that argument received plenty of ammunition when Tottenham romped past Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday in the first game since Hodgson’s appointment. The crushing 4-1 away victory, as well as denting Bolton’s hopes of staying in the Premier League, took Tottenham back within a point of Arsenal in third, the position that may well be the last to deliver Champions League football should Chelsea go on to win this year’s competition. In a season of highs and lows for Spurs, the year could yet end on a positive note.
The strength of the gossip linking Redknapp with the vacancy at Wembley was such, however, that, after Everton’s match with Tottenham in March, the Guardian, wrote: “With Redknapp a near-certainty for the vacant England position, [David] Moyes is the favourite for the Tottenham job,” confirming that many within football, and possibly at White Hart Lane, had started to look beyond the end of the season with Redknapp installed as England boss. Everton won that match by a single goal as Tottenham dropped out of the title race, falling 11 points behind second-place Manchester United. But Tottenham were still third, in pole position to qualify for the Champions League, and making that competition for next season would, with the retention of Redknapp, make Spurs a more appetising proposition for perspective signings - and also keeping hold of the likes of Gareth Bale.
Arguably more important than keeping Redknapp will be keeping Bale, not only because of the winger’s significance to the side, but to prove that players in the Welshman’s class believe they can achieve their goals at Tottenham. Bale has nevertheless hinted he will leave the club if they are not in the Champions League next season, as reported by the Daily Telegraph, while a year ago it took a Herculean effort to fight off Chelsea’s interest in Luka Modric. Will the Croatian remain again if Spurs are not in the Champions League? Or, denied the riches of the Champions League for a second consecutive season, will the Tottenham hierarchy be more open to substantial offers for the playmaker?
These are questions Redknapp will now have to answer, or rather find answers to if the decision is out of his hands. But with the uncertainty around the manager now finally cleared up planning centring around Redknapp can begin in earnest. Bridging the gap to the Manchester clubs may be the long-term goal but in the short-term, reaching the Champions League is vital to the Tottenham cause.
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