Redknapp confirms Tottenham’s ‘25-man’ Premier League squad
TOTTENHAM will have a 31-man Premier League squad for the next five months after a number of young stars helped Harry Redknapp to negotiate the new ‘25-man squad’ rules.
The Spurs boss was obliged to register his list with the Premier League before 5pm yesterday, on September 1, the day after the transfer deadline.
And Redknapp’s task in ticking the various boxes has been made substantially easier by the fact that senior players such as Gareth Bale, Giovani Dos Santos and new signing Sandro are all aged 21 and under.
Spurs’ prodigious young talents do not have to be included in the 25-man roster, and Redknapp was also able to include derby hero Danny Rose, Jake Livermore and defender Kyle Walker in his plans without filling up valuable spaces on his list.
Rafael van der Vaart’s arrival from Real Madrid was finally confirmed at 3pm yesterday, 21 hours after the transfer deadline had passed, so the �8million midfielder was included in the Tottenham squad that was registered with the Premier League two hours later.
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However, Jonathan Woodgate has been overlooked after failing to make an appearance for over nine months.
The 30-year-old last played for Spurs in the 9-1 win over Wigan on November 22 2009, and the former Newcastle and Real Madrid centre-back is having another operation in a bid to solve the long-term groin problem which has undermined his career.
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Redknapp does not appear to be confident that his defender will be back any time soon, and ex-Arsenal captain William Gallas has effectively taken Woodgate’s place after his shock move across north London.
More unfortunate perhaps is the situation of Spurs keeper Ben Alnwick, who has also been left out of the 25-man squad despite being fully fit.
The 23-year-old has played just three times for Spurs under Redknapp, conceding nine goals in that time, but he was on the bench against Wigan on Saturday as No2 Carlo Cudicini deputised for the injured Heurelho Gomes.
However, the arrival of Croatia international Stipe Pletikosa on Tuesday’s transfer deadline day has pushed Alnwick down to fourth in the pecking order, and he now finds himself ineligible to play in the Premier League until February at the earliest.
There was better news for forgotten man Jamie O’Hara who, unlike Woodgate, has been included in Tottenham’s squad despite suffering from a back injury which has ruled him out of action since the FA Cup Final, when he played for Portsmouth at the end of his loan spell.
O’Hara is one of 11 homegrown players to be named in Spurs’ 25-man list – the Lilywhites had to register at least eight – and all of them are English apart from Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane.
That is in stark contrast to north London rivals Arsenal, who did not include a single Englishman in their 25-man squad, instead counting the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Denilson, Alex Song and Nicklas Bendtner as ‘homegrown’.
The Gunners can, however, count on the likes of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs as part of their additional 21-and-under contingent.
Tottenham named 14 ‘non homegrown’ players in their squad, including Scotsman Alan Hutton – three less than the maximum permitted 17 foreigners.
* Homegrown players (11): David Bentley, Peter Crouch, Michael Dawson, Jermain Defoe, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Robbie Keane, Ledley King, Aaron Lennon, Kyle Naughton, Jamie O’Hara.
* Non homegrown players (14): Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Sebastian Bassong, Vedran Corluka, Carlo Cudicini, Heurelho Gomes, William Gallas, Alan Hutton, Younes Kaboul, Niko Kranjcar, Luka Modric, Wilson Palacios, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Stipe Pletikosa, Rafael Van Der Vaart.
* Aged 21 and under (6): Gareth Bale, Giovani Dos Santos, Sandro, Danny Rose, Jake Livermore, Kyle Walker.