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Redknapp blasts boozy Britain for England woes

Harry Redknapp has blamed Britain's drinking culture for the wave of lurid headlines about England players.

Wayne Rooney this week became the latest big name to find himself on the front pages for the wrong reasons, while Redknapp's own Tottenham striker Peter Crouch recently saw claims about his private life laid bare.

Ashley Cole and John Terry have also been the subject of tabloid exposes, while there is currently more than one injunction against the publication of further allegations about England players.

Reflecting on the spate of stories, Redknapp left no doubt about what he felt was responsible for the status quo.

He said: "There's one common problem -- I've said it all along. It's called drink. These things don't happen unless people have a drink 99 per cent of the time. People have a drink; we all drink. I'm not sitting here saying I never have; of course I have."

He added: "These lads now, everyone's got a camera. I'm the only person in the country who's got a phone without a camera on it!"

Redknapp insisted players are paid well enough to be expected to resist the temptations of fame. "They shouldn't be putting themselves in that position," he said.

"If they dedicate themselves for 10 years, they come out of it with so much money, they never have to work again.

"They can live a fantastic life. They've got to be super-fit now."

The Spurs boss insists there are plenty of role models for players to follow, if they only choose to do so, singling out Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.

"They're the ones they should look at, aren't they?" he said. "Why is Giggs playing so well at 30-whatever-he-is? Still fit, still fantastic.

"You look at Italian players. (Paolo) Maldini: what an example he is. What an incredible professional. You never read about him being drunk and disorderly, falling over and fighting."

Redknapp appears to have found a disciple in new signing Rafael van der Vaart, who is keen to keep his private life out of the public arena.

Van der Vaart's wife Sylvie is a Dutch model and television personality and she sparked just as much interest at his unveiling yesterday as her husband.

"Of course my wife is famous, perhaps more famous than I am!" joked Van der Vaart when asked if he was prepared for her to be followed by the paparazzi.

"My private life or the silly stuff, I don't like it. I only want to play football."