Dawson to captain Tottenham in FA Cup against Leeds
Michael Dawson will captain Tottenham in Wednesday night’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against Leeds United at Elland Road following Robbie Keane’s loan move to Celtic.
While Fabio Capello has an awkward decision about who should lead England, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp insisted the decision to hand the job on Wednesday night to Dawson was an easy one.
Ledley King is the club captain at Spurs but his inability, through injury, to play in every game prompted Redknapp to make Keane the team captain when he returned to White Hart Lane last February after an ill-fated move to Liverpool.
With Keane – who was due to make his Celtic debut against Kilmarnock on Tuesday night – leaving on loan late on Monday, Dawson will lead the side at Elland Road before Redknapp makes a final decision for the remainder of the season, with the injured Jonathan Woodgate also in the running.
“I’ve not discussed it with Michael,” Redknapp said. “It’s only happened recently, so I’ve not even had the chance to see the players and talk to them at the moment. It is not official yet.
“But Michael Dawson has captained the team before, done a good job, he has just signed a new contract, been in great form and is a real leader who leads by example.”
Redknapp knows what he wants from a captain: “You look for a leader, somebody who can take your instructions on the pitch, see things that are going wrong and put them right in their own way, and every captain is different.
“Bobby Moore was a great captain – he was quiet, he led by example, he didn’t shout and scream at anyone. He was probably our greatest captain, we won the World Cup with Bobby as captain.
“But everybody has different ways. Tony Adams would be barking out orders, he was a great captain, organising people and talking. John Terry is a leader when he plays. Again, he organises and bosses people on the pitch. But everybody is different.”
Redknapp was keen not to interfere with the conundrum facing Capello, adding: “That’s Mr Capello’s decision; he’ll do what he feels is right. I do not want to be second guessing what the England manager is going to do.”
But he set out his rules, explaining: “There has to be standards with young footballers and everybody else. They are role models, they are setting examples out there to kids, and we have to set the right examples.”
Redknapp is short on numbers for Wednesday night’s difficult return, a game forced by Jermaine Beckford’s late penalty at Spurs.
With Keane at Celtic for the rest of the season and Alan Hutton and Kyle Naughton also out on loan, and with newcomers Eidur Gudjohnsen and Younes Kaboul ineligible, he has little room to move, particularly as King, Benoît Assou-Ekotto, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Aaron Lennon, Woodgate and Carlo Cudicini are all injured.
“I will risk everybody at Leeds,” Redknapp said. “I’ve got to have three kids on the bench because I don’t have enough subs. I might have Danny Rose as well so there will be four kids on the bench.”
Redknapp will be interested to see the latest response from David Bentley, who was expected to leave in the window but remained and, in the last two games, has impressed.
“He’s played and been in good form,” said Redknapp. “He’s come in the last two games and done very well for me. He’s important to me. Aaron’s not fit and David’s got to make that position his own.”