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Redknapp puts Van der Vaart in his place

Harry Redknapp will let Rafael van der Vaart know, in no uncertain terms, that he is in charge before today's Premier League match at Wigan Athletic, which Tottenham cannot afford to lose in their pursuit of a top-four finish for the second year in succession.

The Spurs manager was unhappy that Van der Vaart disappeared down the tunnel having been substituted in the last game, against West Ham United, having reacted similarly to his early departure at home to AC Milan.

Redknapp, who is keen for the midfielder to face Wigan ahead of his return to his former club, Real Madrid, next Tuesday in the Champions League, admitted that Van der Vaart struggled to complete games and was not happy with his response to the substitutions.

"I haven't spoken to yet to him about it, but I will do," said Redknapp. "I don't like anyone walking straight down the tunnel.

"Players should sit on the bench and watch their team finish the game. You're all in it together and I'd find it hard to walk (off) because you want to be there and stay with your team. That's how I've always seen it and that's how I want it here."

The Dutchman has featured in 26 games for Spurs since arriving in August, but has been substituted 17 times and sent off in another, completing only eight full games.

"That is a problem for him," admitted Redknapp. "He tires in games at times and you pick up injuries when you get tired. That's why I've played him for 65, 70, 75 minutes or whatever. It's up to me. If I decide to sub him, I sub him."

For all that, Redknapp insisted there was no rift. "I think Rafa is a top-quality player and I am sure that he is looking forward to going back to Madrid and playing," he said. "He has been great value for us, he has certainly been a great buy. And we are going to need his experience and fantastic ability in Madrid." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent