Saturday 23 September 2017

Redknapp eager for Lennon to find Dutch courage

Mark Fleming

AFTER tripping up against their two biggest local rivals Arsenal and West Ham United in the past week, Tottenham hope to rediscover their form against more exotic opposition tonight in the Champions League with the visit to White Hart Lane of the Dutch champions FC Twente.

Juggling the twin challenges of Champions League and Premier League is proving to be a demanding test for Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, whose task has been made significantly harder by a succession of injuries to key players, including most of his centre-halves, and a loss of form for others.

England winger Aaron Lennon is one of those high-profile Spurs players who is suffering right now. Overlooked by England manager Fabio Capello since the World Cup Lennon has been way below his best so far this season.

Redknapp has been treating Lennon (23) with kid gloves in training, to try and rebuild his shattered confidence. Redknapp even suggested he might pitch him against a much slower player in training, just to give him a lift.

"He (Lennon) is a quiet little lad, but one game can turn it for him. He needs to get a bit of confidence. Maybe in training, you stick somebody at left-back who you're confident he can get by. I'm sure I can find one," Redknapp said. "He's a young kid with great ability and needs to find a way to get the best out of himself."

The Spurs coaches have been working hard with Lennon to make him less predictable and therefore more dangerous. "You have to spend time knocking balls out to him, getting him against full-backs one-on-one, showing him to run behind people and if you can't get it to feet, do something else. He's got to mix his game up."

Redknapp could do with a lift, after a stuttering start to the season that has seen him lose several defenders to injury. That was not improved yesterday when Younes Kaboul limped out of training with a hamstring strain, meaning Vedran Corluka is likely to partner Sebastien Bassong in the centre of the defence, although Redknapp could take a gamble on the fitness of captain Ledley King. Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, however, came through training and is ready to return after a month out with a groin injury.

Redknapp has promised that his team will attack their Dutch visitors, who have former Belgium goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme as their manager. So far the Belgian has yet to taste defeat, as Twente are unbeaten this season in nine games in all competitions, and are fourth in the Eredivisie. (© Independent News Service)

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