Redknapp to bring British touch

October 28, 2008

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is confident he can close the gap with Arsenal while bringing back British traditions to White Hart Lane.

Spurs may have more silverware than their bitter rivals in the last three years but Arsenal still have bragging rights in north London under Arsene Wenger by consistently qualifying for the Champions League.

The Gunners have been underpinned by Frenchman Wenger, his cosmopolitan players and a global scouting network - their victory against West Ham on Sunday saw Theo Walcott as the only Englishman playing for them.

In contrast, Redknapp wants homegrown backroom staff and has targeted Tim Sherwood as an assistant to join coach Kevin Bond in the new set-up.

Redknapp is also considering offering Les Ferdinand a part-time role coaching his strikers.

Redknapp is the most expensive English manager following his weekend move from Portsmouth - and he feels there is more homegrown talent outside the top flight.

"I want to encourage the younger coaches to come in and get involved because we've got to start to produce some young English managers who can manage at the highest level,'' Redknapp said.

"I think there are plenty of English managers out there who, given the opportunity, can do the job at the top clubs. People have to give them lads a chance.

"Not all foreign managers are fantastic, we've got some great ones but they are not all great. I'd love to see more English managers promoted and being given jobs at bigger clubs.''

When his backroom staff have been decided, the task will be to challenge the likes of Arsenal for a place in the top four of the Premier League.

After defeating Bolton on Sunday in his opening game in charge, Redknapp has the chance of inspiring the first league win over Arsenal this century when he takes his team to the Emirates Stadium.

The last manager to do so was Arsenal hero George Graham in 1999.

"Arsenal have moved ahead, without a doubt,'' Redknapp said. "It's going to take time. They've moved away this season and there is a fair gap but with hard work it can be closed.

"They are both major clubs and it is up to us to get Tottenham back to where they should be.

"It's going to be a tough task going to Highbury....the Emirates Stadium is tough too. They're a fantastic team and pass the ball brilliantly but we passed the ball well on Sunday and I was impressed.''

Redknapp has brought five outcasts of the Juande Ramos era into his plans, with Adel Taarabt, Ricardo Rocha, Paul Stalteri, Hossam Ghaly and Kevin-Prince Boateng given squad numbers.

"It's a clean start,'' said Redknapp. "Those players are back in the squad and I've been impressed with them.''

With numbers bolstered, he views Spurs' situation as less daunting than the task facing him when he returned to Fratton Park in 2005 and survived relegation against the odds.

Spurs head into the Arsenal clash bottom of the table, but Redknapp said: "The toughest task was getting Portsmouth into the Premier League and then keeping them there when I went back.

"I took over a team with no right to be in the Premier League really and we managed to survive somehow.

"This is a tough task but we've got quality footballers here. This is a fantastic football club. You've only got to walk around the place to feel it is a club that is really geared for the big time.

"It's had the big time. I know the history of the club, from 1961-62 with Dave Mackay.

"They've always had a style of football that has been well noted all around the world.

"They were the original push-and-run team in the days of Eddie Bailey. It's a football club with great tradition and there are great players here now.''

Redknapp does not view huge amounts of spending from clubs during the January transfer window.

Contrary to reports, he would be allowed to sign Jermain Defoe if the striker came available.

Under Premier League rule L19 a player is not allowed to return to his former club within 12 months of leaving, but the regulation is to avoid abuse of the registration system and would not be applicable in this case.

"I spoke to the chairman and there's not going to be an awful lot of money around in January and I think it's going to be a tight transfer window because of the recession which has hit the country,'' Redknapp said.

"We'll have to look around for a couple of bargains like everybody else.''