Tuesday 12 December 2017

Modric all-clear gives Redknapp relief

West Brom 1
Tottenham 1

David Instone

JUST when Tottenham thought they might be calling on the U-17s to supplement their dwindling squad for their Champions League campaign, they were given some reason for cheer on the injury front yesterday when a scan on Luka Modric's leg that he hurt against West Brom on Saturday showed no damage.

"Luka Modric will travel with the squad for our opening Champions League group match at Werder Bremen after X-rays of his left fibula came back clear," read a club statement. "He will continue to be monitored prior to being made available for selection on Tuesday."

His manager Harry Redknapp will be delighted as after Saturday's game he had feared losing Modric for some time. "He's an amazing footballer, so I hope it isn't too bad," Redknapp said. "You always have special players and Modric is one. He could play in any team in the world. He's a top player. You can't replace him."

Redknapp can have been pleased with the impact made by new signing Rafael van der Vaart, who played a part in the goal and, like the referee Howard Webb, made a favourable first impact here since the two were in close proximity amid the card-waving frenzy that was the World Cup final.

Van der Vaart played behind Roman Pavlyuchenko, featuring heavily in one sublime early move scuppered by Aaron Lennon's wastefulness and setting up a 49th-minute one-on-one chance from which Scott Carson denied Gareth Bale brilliantly.

"That position suits him, so I hope to see what a quality player he is," Redknapp added.

"It will take a few weeks but I might try to get 60 minutes from him in Bremen. That in-between position makes him difficult to pick up."

Van der Vaart outshone William Gallas, skinned by Marc-Antoine Fortune in the build-up to West Brom's equaliser, Peter Odemwingie also figuring as Chris Brunt headed his 50th league goal. Robbie Keane came on as a second half sub but failed to make any impression.

Any first-half inferiority complex Albion had disappeared during an upturn that took them close to victory, Carlo Cudicini saving splendidly from Jonas Olsson and Odemwingie late on.

Since opening with the drubbing at Chelsea, West Brom have conceded just twice. Early though it may be to praise Roberto di Matteo for discovering the resilience that eluded his predecessor, a promising platform is being erected. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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