Tottenham news

Redknapp plays down Lennon row

April 6, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Harry Redknapp has moved to dispel rumours of a rift between him and Aaron Lennon after the winger claimed he was being used as scapegoat for Spurs' Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

Aaron Lennon: Replaced by Jermaine Jenas
GettyImages / RichardHeathcoteAaron Lennon: Replaced by Jermaine Jenas

• Lennon hits back over illlness

Redknapp was forced to bring in Jermaine Jenas just moments before kick-off after Lennon fell ill but while Redknapp suggested it was a last-minute revelation, Lennon reacted angrily to the claims, claiming that he had felt unwell since Sunday.

However, Redknapp says he had no problem with Lennon's decision to withdraw and insists he did not 'bottle it'.

"No one is blaming Aaron for not playing, Redknapp told talkSPORT. "He's been fantastic for us. I've got no problems with the kid whatsoever. I was sitting in the dressing-room before the match, looking at his face. He's normally chirpy before he goes out and I looked and he didn't look well.

"I had to make a decision. It wasn't Aaron's fault. He didn't bottle anything. The kid wasn't well. No one's made him a scapegoat. Aaron hadn't been feeling well during the day. The doctor came to me and said 'look, he is on antibiotics, I think he will be OK'.

"I had to make a decision. He was key to everything we wanted to do yesterday, him and Gareth Bale were really where we were looking to cause problems to Real Madrid.

"He's been fantastic for me since I've been at the club and I was desperate for him to play but do I take the chance of sending the kid out when he doesn't feel he's got any strength or energy to go and play in a game like that.

"So I said, 'look I know how much you want to play but you can't take the chance here if you don't feel you can go out and do yourself justice' and that was it."