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Should Redknapp be starting Defoe over Van der Vaart?

It is a selection headache that any manager would crave, or even loathe. Jermain Defoe, the pint-sized hit-man, has been in superb form for Tottenham recently, adding to his goal tally with each passing game. But, waiting in the wings is Rafael Van der Vaart. The Dutchman has the ability to make something out of nothing, unlock the most subborn of defences with a simple pass and, once again nearing full-fitness, any fan would love the luxury of calling on the talented midfielder. Both can’t play at the same time so what to do? Claire Needham investigates for To the Lane and Back.

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On the 25th of November, Harry Redknapp stated in a press conference that he would not be selling Jermain Defoe in the January transfer window as he is such a good player. Right on cue, Rafael Van der Vaart got injured and Defoe was bought into the team, subsequently hitting the back of the net on his return to the side in the 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion.

He kept his place in the starting XI for the following game and again, alongside Emmanuel Adebayor, struck in the 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. Now that Van der Vaart is fit again, I don’t see Redknapp not starting with the 28-year-old as he has an aura about him leaving fans wondering what trick the Dutch magician is going to pull out of his hat next. So where does this leave Defoe?

To an extent I understand Redknapp’s motives, he wants to finish in the top four and even fight for the Premier League title, thus craving an in-depth squad knowing full well that the England hit-man will be dangerous from the bench.

 However, compatriot Redknapp should realise that he is not helping Defoe’s chances of going to the European Championships next year if he is not playing regularly and arguably, this is a perfect chance for Defoe, or any English striker in retrospect, to stake a claim for themselves while Rooney is suspended.

There is also an element of ‘we don’t want to play him but we don’t want anyone else to have him’ from the Spurs manager, which again is not going to be the best for Defoe. Obviously, I don’t personally know Defoe so he might me happy sitting on the bench, but I would like to think that he isn’t and he could really make a difference to a team and score some goals.

After all, an English scoring striker is in urgent demand at the moment. What is clear is that there is no way that Van der Vaart, Defoe and Adebayor can all play successfully in the team together, or can they?

Now that Spurs also look to be out of the Europa League, there is one less competition for Redknapp to rotate his squad in. I believe that Redknapp should let Defoe go out on loan in January because to be honest, unless there are injuries, the Spurs starting XI look like they can beat anyone at the moment and with Van der Vaart once again approaching full-fitness; chances are the 29-year-old would be sacrificed at the expense of the former Real Madrid ace.

Claire Needham

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