I think it’s fair to assume that Harry Redknapp isn’t everyone’s cup of tea at the moment. Since Fabio Capello resigned from his role as England manager, with the Tottenham Hotspur manager subsequently, and instantly, instilled as the bookies’ favourite to succeed the Italian, the win rate of the North Londoners has significantly dropped from 65% to 30%.
For a team that is looking to push for a top four finish, and were likened as title contenders during the tail-end of 2011, the percentage is similar to that of a side looking to stave off relegation. Following the heavy 5-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea, many of the Spurs faithful were calling for Redknapp to stay at Wembley in the aftermath of the exit in the cup. At present, the team look devoid of ideas pushing forward and cumbersome in defence.
Something isn’t quite right with the club that has picked up just six points in eight games with it of the opinion that some of the players know that Redknapp is already off at the end of the season and have all but given up this year. Talk of replacements have been rife across blogs and Twitter since the news broke of Capello’s departure with the likes of David Moyes, Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho put forward as possible successors. However, with Mourinho my personal choice to come in at White Hart Lane, albeit, a highly unlikely one, there is one name that, despite not being linked with the possible role, could, to an extent, have been overlooked.
The former Spurs midfielder has been affiliated with the club since 2008 when Redknapp offered him the chance to join the coaching staff just days after it was announced the England favourite had been brought in to replace Juande Ramos. Closely linked with the current Spurs incumbent since 2005, as a result of his work with Jamie and Louise Redknapp with Icon Magazine, the duo have held close ties for almost seven years now and it is no surprise to see Redknapp place his trust in Sherwood to oversee the U-18 side during this year’s NextGen series.
And while Spurs eventually crashed out of the competition after fielding an ineligible player during the 1-0 win against Liverpool back in August, the team stood themselves in good stead for the future following the excellent work of Sherwood and U-18 coach Alex Inglethorpe. His effect on the player’s can be productive and, rather than the clichéd phrases to motive his teams, he instead constructively analyses each individual movement on the pitch in an attempt to alter each game to bring out the best in the youngsters.
What Windy has to say
Yes, when it comes to the youth team and NextGen series, it is hardly unsurprising to call upon the forever knowledgeable Windy for some sound advice on Sherwood and what he can bring to the team.
Sherwood comes across as quite proactive on the touchline – closely watching the game, before shouting specific instructions to players. This is quite different to, for example, the Joe Jordan or even Clive Allen approach of attempting to “gee up” players by shouting rather generic comments (“get stuck in” + profanities, etc).
He talks well after the game too – for example, on Spurs TV Online he deconstructs Spurs XI matches in relative detail, commenting on particular player performances and citing examples of things that players did well and not so well.
The style that he achieved when playing in the NextGen Series was largely possession-based, but there was also a sense of freedom of expression. Central defenders were encouraged to bring the ball out from the back, and full backs were given license to bomb forward, with one (or sometimes two) holding midfield players available to cover. In fact, wingers were generally tucked in, with full backs overlapping – a style that has also been seen at first team and U18 level.
What this says about Sherwood
Appealingly, Sherwood had his NextGen team and the Spurs XI playing the football that fans have become accustomed to in recent seasons. Commanding a high level of respect from his players, due to his apprehensiveness to get stuck into, and in-turn shout, at the youngsters, he appears to favour the calmer approach that will bring out the better qualities in his team. Furthermore, a number of the players on loan that have come through the ranks with Spurs, Steven Caulker, Andros Townsend, Harry Kane etc., have already worked with him and know exactly what he can bring to the team.
I have regularly favoured the promotion of youth through the ranks, be it managerial or on the playing side. I am firmly of the belief that the appointment of Sherwood could work in our favour, much like it has done with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona. Naturally, the results may vary, what with the famous La Masia training camp available to the Catalan giants, but from the football I have seen when Sherwood had been in charge, it looks exciting and invigorating and the style of play on show would certainly appeal to the staunchest of Spurs fans.
However, the likelihood of chairman Daniel Levy opting for Sherwood ahead of a number of high profile targets may well be slim. Additionally, it would be a big risk to appoint a manager with very little experience at the highest level, no matter how long they have spent with the club. Should an external appointment be made, it would be nice to see Sherwood working alongside him in an assistant role to further learn the ropes and rigours of the leading role at White Hart Lane.
With Ledley King looking more and more likely to retire once the season ends, following a number of below par performances, a coaching role could, and should, be made available to the defender. Sherwood already works closely alongside Les Ferdinand on the training pitch and with the potential addition of King; Spurs could see themselves promoting a readymade coaching staff through the ranks in the foreseeable future.