Saturday 17 March 2018

Redknapp keeps red-hot Defoe on Spurs' bench

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp admits he feels sorry for Jermain Defoe, but is confident that the in-form striker will not become upset at his recent omission from the starting line-up.

Defoe has looked a completely different striker this year to the one that scored just four Barclays Premier League goals last term.

The England hitman has found the net five times in seven starts this season, but he has not started the last two league games thanks to the form of Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael van der Vaart, who scored both goals in last week's 2-1 win at Blackburn to take his tally to six for the season.

The 29-year-old is likely to be on the bench for the third league game in a row tomorrow when Spurs host QPR and Redknapp admits he is struggling to find a place for the former Portsmouth striker in his starting line-up.

"I feel for Jermain at the moment," Redknapp said.

"It's almost unfair that he's not in the team, but there is nothing we can do about that.

"He has been in magnificent form and he can't get in my team at the moment.

"He was almost unplayable in training this week, but Rafa has scored five in the last four.

"Jermain is a sensible lad. I am sure he will look at it and he will see how well Rafa is playing and Adebayor too.

"If you look at Rafa's goalscoring record it's incredible. He is just a great finisher. He is cool in front of goal and when the chances come he makes it look so easy. His two goals last week were world class."

Although Defoe has made no suggestion that he is unhappy at Spurs, he did voice his frustration at being left out of the starting XI last season, when Redknapp preferred partnering Van der Vaart with Peter Crouch.

Redknapp's team will move level on points with fourth-place Newcastle tomorrow should they overcome Neil Warnock's side at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham v QPR,

Live, tomorrow, Sky Sports 1, 4.0

Irish Independent

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