Sandro set for cup outing
Harry Redknapp is ready to give Tottenham's fans a glimpse of a Brazilian future when he sends out a team full of youngsters tomorrow night against Arsenal in the Carling Cup third round.
The Tottenham boss will hand Brazil's 21-year-old Sandro Ranieri his debut in midfield as he seeks to protect his big-name players.
With a Premier League encounter against West Ham on Saturday followed by midweek action in the Champions League, Redknapp insists he cannot play his full-strength side in a competition Tottenham won in 2008.
Redknapp said: "I can't kill off Gareth Bale. He had two games for his country, then ran a million miles in Germany (against Werder Bremen) down that left flank. He's still a boy. He's running on empty. I've got to protect him a bit.
"We've got lots of players who need to play who haven't featured recently. They are good quality players who need games under their belt and some of the players need a rest.
"I can't keep using the same players. I am going to protect some of them. There will be lots of changes. Arsene Wenger's done it over the years and played the youngsters even in cup semi-finals. You've got to do what's right for the team."
It means Tottenham fans could see Steven Caulker, the 18-year-old centre-half who has been out on loan at Yeovil and has been compared to Rio Ferdinand, plus 21-year-old midfielder Jake Livermore and Brazilian Sandro.
Redknapp admits he brought 6ft 1ins Sandro to the club from Internacional for £8m in the summer without having seen him play but on the recommendation of Spurs chief scout Ian Broomfield.
Redknapp said: "He watched him four times and I spoke to Dunga (former Brazil manager) about him and we got good reports.
"I've been pleased with him. He's a good lad. He's in the Brazilian squad and you don't get too many bad players breaking into the Brazil national squad.
Sandro had a disrupted start when he arrived a week late in England and then was left behind at Heathrow airport after failing to realise he had not been selected in the club's 25-man squad for the group stages of the Champions League.
With defenders Younes Kaboul and Vedran Corluka sidelined with injuries, Dutch midfielder Raphael Van Der Vaart suffering from a slight groin strain and Bale being rested, Sandro will get his chance to impress tomorrow night on what Redknapp believes will be the perfect stage to gauge how good his youngsters really are.
Redknapp said: "Caulker may play, Livermore may play and it will answer lots of questions about these kids. Are they good enough?
"When I sent kids out (on loan) at West Ham every week I was getting phone calls that they were the best thing they'd ever seen. I knew Rio (Ferdinand) and all those were going to be great. Tomorrow will answer questions of whether some of these kids are good enough to play for Tottenham."
Redknapp, who stresses he respects the Carling Cup and still wants to win the trophy, also believes it will show how quickly Tottenham are closing in on the clubs above them
He added: "Arsenal have been more successful in recent years, but we are getting closer. When we get a new stadium we will be getting 60,000 people a week like Arsenal do. They are both big clubs
"The Carling Cup is important. I can't understand teams in the middle of the table resting their players in the Carling Cup. You have a chance of going to Wembley.
"It's a chance to win a cup and I don't know why they mess about with their teams. It is different if you have Champions League football."