Spurs boss Redknapp scathing over Defoe injury

HARRY Redknapp has slammed the “farcical” timing of England’s early-season Euro 2012 qualifiers which left Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson out with long-term injuries.

Defoe was carried from the pitch from England’s game in Basle, Switzerland, having torn ligaments in his right ankle, and will miss three months of the season.

That will rule him out of Tottenham’s entire Champions League group stage, as well as crucial league games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

He was joined on the sidelines by centre-back Michael Dawson, who four days earlier sprained his left knee ligaments in the Three Lions’ opening game against Bulgaria, and will be missing for up to eight weeks.

Redknapp launched a scathing attack on the timing of England’s friendly against Hungary just days before the start of the Premier League season, and the twin injury setback has left the Spurs boss in no mood to relent.

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“These were qualifying games, big games, but I think it is farcical,” said Redknapp.

“I said at the start of the year, having a friendly in the first midweek of the season just doesn’t make sense. That was crazy.

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“Taking them [the players] away is the problem in that week. They went away on the Sunday and we didn’t see them again until the Friday morning.

“That last week [of pre-season] is the most important week of the season. It is the week where you are just making sure, you have got fitness coaches, you are trying to bring them to a peak, you are working on set plays and you are working on how you are going to play.

“Everybody is ready and you are looking forward to the new season, and suddenly they are not here. You have got three players and the rest are off playing in Mexico or God knows where.

“They turn up Friday morning and that is the first time you see them – you don’t know who is fit and who isn’t.

“I suppose they need to play one or two friendlies to bed in but it is just the timing of it that is key.”

Defoe’s injury is a particularly savage blow to Tottenham’s hopes this season, limiting their striking options to Roman Pavlyuchenko, who is yet to score so far, Peter Crouch and the previously unwanted Robbie Keane.

But Redknapp admitted it was impossible to expect players to choose club over country, despite the detrimental effect the games have on his team.

“You can’t stop them playing for England, can you? They have got to play for their countries when they get picked,” added Redknapp.

“I couldn’t be more pleased for Michael getting into the England squad and he has ended up picking up an injury. But there is nothing you can do about it.

“They have got to play for England or for Wales or for wherever they are from. Sometimes you get an injury. [Robin] van Persie got an injury, [Dirk] Kuyt got an injury, and Theo [Walcott] got a nasty ankle injury. But there is nothing you can do about it.

“You are never going to stop players playing for their country. It is great for them, it is great for the clubs. All the great players over the years, people like Bobby Moore, never missed an international, never missed a friendly and always wanted to play.”

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