Harry: I’d never have sold JD

Emmanuel Adebayor’s arrival at Tottenham has given Defoe a new

lease of life. The former Portsmouth striker bagged four league

goals last season but he is already halfway towards matching that

tally this term and has also scored for Spurs in the Europa League.

Last season Redknapp regularly voiced his frustration at the

inability of Defoe, and strike partners Peter Crouch and Roman

Pavlyuchenko, to score. His team managed just 55 league goals – 17

less than Arsenal – but after a summer of hard work with veteran

fitness trainer Tiberius Darau, and the understanding he has struck

up with Adebayor, Redknapp thinks Defoe is back to his best.

Redknapp revealed today one unnamed Premier League club bid for

Defoe this summer, but said he never thought of letting go of a man

he also worked with at West Ham and Portsmouth. “There was a

Premier League team that came in for him. I can’t remember who it

was. It was a poor offer, but I said: ‘no chance’. I would never

have sold him,” Redknapp said. “I would have been scared to sell

him. He is one of those who would come back to haunt you. “I have

always liked him. He is sharp, a good finisher. There aren’t too

many better than Jermain Defoe around.” Defoe admitted towards the

end of last season that he was considering his Tottenham future,

but knuckled down with renowned fitness coach Darau, who worked

Patrick Vieira when he was at Arsenal, and the move appears to have

paid off. Redknapp revealed Darau comes to London to give extra

fitness lessons to Defoe before training – a move which has

impressed the Spurs boss greatly. “Ian Wright recommended him

(Darau) to him. He has been coming over here so Jermain will go and

see him early in the morning, spend an hour with him before he

comes and trains here,” Redknapp said. “Full credit to Jermain. He

didn’t have the summer laying on the beach. It impressed me. “It

says a lot about the lad. It shows he cares and wants to come back

ready to play. “He was low last year. I spoke to him about it and I

know what a determined little guy he is.” Defoe has failed to

cement a regular place in the England team recently, with Fabio

Capello preferring either Darren Bent, Andy Carroll or Ashley Young

to play alongside Wayne Rooney. The fact the Italian has chopped

and changed so much leads Redknapp to believe the second striker’s

position is still up for grabs, and he thinks Defoe can fill the

void. “There’s only Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll I

suppose. I can’t see Michael Owen getting back in,” Redknapp said.

“I think Jermain is working hard enough. It’s probably between him

and Bent. “Rooney and Jermain have had a few gos and have done okay

at times. “It’s up to the manager. You have to admire Jermain and

what he has done.” Redknapp takes his team to Wigan tomorrow

looking to extend the club’s winning streak to three games. Spurs

hammered Wigan 9-1 two years ago, but could only take one point off

the Latics last season. Redknapp is aware Tottenham struggled

against the bottom six last year – they took just 17 of 36

available points – and wants an improvement this year. “If we’d

have done better against those teams it would have made a massive

difference to us last year,” he said. “I just felt last year, away

from home, we didn’t have that little bit extra to win the games.”

With Sandro and Rafael van der Vaart fit, and Aaron Lennon and

William Gallas on the mend, Redknapp’s injury problems are easing.

But Redknapp does have his doubts about Tom Huddlestone, who has

missed the last four games with a long-standing ankle injury. “His

injury is long-term. It doesn’t look too great,” Redknapp added.

“He is going back to see the specialist on Monday again. They are

going to open up his ankle again.”