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Would Redknapp sacrifice Spurs for England?

Let’s face it; have many of us really seen a better Tottenham side in any of our respective generations?

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Let’s face it; have many of us really seen a better Tottenham side in any of our respective generations? Granted, the great Sir Bill Nicholson side that won the 1960/61 double was mightily impressive while the days of Keithy’s Army bought glory and trophies back to White Hart Lane. And who can forget the excellent 1986/87 side under the stewardship of David Pleat? But, under Harry Redknapp, the football Spurs are playing this season has been absolutely mesmerising and terrifying at the best of times.

Lamented as some of the best football seen in the history of the Premier League is quite possibly the highest of compliments from pundits and managers alike. It is the free-flowing attacking football that has ensured Spurs have enjoyed a superb unbeaten run of 11 games, 10 of those being wins, while their weekend win over Bolton Wanderers broke the record for the most back-to-backs wins in their Premier League history.

Such form currently sees the North London giants sitting pretty in third place, albeit, second for a couple of hours, and the consistency and ability of their play has seen them labelled as genuine title contenders. Unfortunately, however, as spectacular as the football has been, a dark cloud still looms over N17 and is heading in Redknapp’s direction.

Yes, the looming trial date at the end of January is one to keep an eye on but, this stormy cloud is coming from the direction of FA headquarters, just 12 miles west of Tottenham. Redknapp has long been linked with the England role since their early exit from the 2010 World Cup and, after serious reports citing Fabio Capello was set to be sacked from his role following the nation’s poor showing in South Africa, Daniel Levy moved unbelievably quickly to tie down the Spurs manager to a long-term deal.

And despite his deal running until 2013, the rumours continually dog the former Portsmouth and West Ham United manager. Having admitted a few months ago that he would be foolish to turn down the England role, should he be offered it next summer following the European Championships; many wouldn’t begrudge him one final chance in management to manage his country. But, with the club now beginning to realise their potential as one of the league’s better sides, would Redknapp really be interested on taking over the England job with his Spurs side now on the verge of greatness?

It is a well known fact that the Spurs manager doesn’t live in London. Every day for training and for matches he makes the 250-mile round trip from his Sandbanks home, picking up Kevin Bond on the way up the M3. Dedication from Redknapp whose day starts at 6am and doesn’t end until 9pm that night. It is the day-to-day involvement in the game where the Spurs managers love for the football continues to flourish and the 64-year-old doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.

However, if he were to take over as England manager, his engagement with the day-to-day running of a club will severely diminish. Naturally, his relationship with the media would stand him in good stead for the role, especially when every move of the players and every game is scrutinised by the Fleet Street elite. Then again, his time in football management has proved that he is able to handle the pressures from the papers and in his 27 years has seen him develop a good rapport with the media.

But, dealing with the media as a club manager and national manager are two different ball games. As mentioned, the England manager is under a hotter and brighter media spotlight and, despite Redknapp’s superb media relations, the papers in England are enough to throw anyone off the national role, just look back to Luis Felipe Scolari and his refusal to take on the job. Then again, every football fans knows Redknapp thoroughly enjoys the spotlight that the media provides, especially the association that comes with club football.

Furthermore, would Redknapp be willing to lose a team that he has bought on and matured when they were on the edge of glory? With England, he wouldn’t have the luxury of selecting Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Emmanuel Adebayor or Rafael Van der Vaart for the team that, evidently, lacks the technical ability to compete with the likes of Spain, Germany and Holland. Then again, Redknapp has the ability to turn around teams and get them playing fast-passing attacking football, as witnessed at Spurs, Portsmouth and West Ham.

There is a chance to really transform the way England play from the naive, cautious approach that Fabio Capello has instilled to the type of football that makes fans stand up a take notice. But, with his Spurs side on a run reminiscent to a runaway freight train, and showing no signs of slowing, Redknapp would be foolish to relinquish the reins to the likes of Carlo Ancelotti or David Moyes, of whom have been linked with the Spurs role should Redknapp be called upon to succeed Capello.

This Spurs side is comfortably the best in the past 20 years and, if it wasn’t for the money pumped into Manchester City and Chelsea, then it could be argued that they would be title winners already. It makes fans wonder whether Redknapp would seriously consider leaving then North London now when he could go down in history as one of the greatest managers in the illustrious history of the club.

Reaching dizzying new heights this season is a massive possibility and only small tweaks need to be made to turn Spurs from top four contenders to title ones. The chance to build his own team and achieve success, similar to the FA Cup he won at Portsmouth, could well be enough to convince him his future lies at White Hart Lane and with 18 months still to run on his contract, the FA would still have to pay a pretty penny to prise him away from Daniel Levy’s grasp.

Ben McAleer

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