Friday 23 March 2018

No end to Woodgate woes as Redknapp expects Keane to stay

Gary Jacob

CONCERN is growing at Tottenham Hotspur about Jonathan Woodgate's groin injury, which has shown little sign of improvement despite surgery at the end of last season.

The defender has made only three appearances in this campaign and the club admitted last night that they do not know what the underlying problem is, or when he will return.

Woodgate travelled to the United States in the summer to consult the specialist who operated on his back four years ago, but he was forced to concede defeat soon after his return in late October. Injections have failed to remedy the problem and another operation has been ruled out. There have been some signs that his work in the gym has strengthened the groin area, but there is no timeframe for his return to training.

The 29-year-old's absence is made more serious for Tottenham because of Ledley King's long-term knee injury, leaving manager Harry Redknapp to pair Michael Dawson with Sebastien Bassong.

Redknapp has considered a move for another centre-back and showed an interest in Dejan Lovren, but the 20-year-old Croatia player appears set to leave Dynamo Zagreb for Lyon.

"It is just a case of trying to get to the bottom of what is causing the problem for Woody," Redknapp said.

The postponement of the Premier League match away to Liverpool tomorrow, the re-arrangement of which has been earmarked for the week commencing January 17, is an added headache for Redknapp, with the expectation of playing five matches in two weeks.

He wanted the chance to extend the club's lead over their rivals in the battle for fourth place but it also temporarily deprives strikers Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch the chance of playing at their former club.

Keane's future remains a source of debate, despite his nine goals this season. Redknapp has maintained his support of the striker since his return a year ago, but Celtic and Sunderland have been mooted as possible destinations should the Republic of Ireland striker leave White Hart Lane for a second time.

"Robbie is his own man -- he wouldn't be afraid to knock on my door and say he is not happy here," Redknapp said. "He wouldn't try and instigate something behind my back. If players think that way, you talk to them.

"Some people have criticised Robbie and said he is not what he was, but I have been well pleased with him. Please God, he'll still be here next month.

"I don't see that he won't be, unless someone comes up with £50m or something for him."

Irish Independent

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