Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has defended his decision to leave Rafael van der Vaart out of his squad for the Europa League group stages, as he felt the forward would not be fit for the bulk of the campaign.
Spurs have omitted the Netherlands international from their squad to face PAOK, Rubin Kazan and Shamrock Rovers over the next coming months, which the former Real Madrid attacker was not happy about.
However, due to Van de Vaart’s recent injury concerns, Redknapp feels he has made the right decision.
“I spoke to the secretary Darren Eales and the first diagnosis on Rafa’s hamstring was that he would be out for six weeks – at least. So we thought six weeks down the line, he misses the first four games, and we only have six games, so we thought there was not much point of putting him in. We might as well put in one of the other lads in who can play,” Redknapp told Sky Sports News.
“The game that he would have come back for would have been the game out in Russia and we thought it was bit of a long journey for him. We thought we would leave him out and if we get through the qualifying group, he can come back for the next stage – that was the reasoning behind it.
“I wouldn’t have slapped Rafa out on that long journey probably anyway; he’s a very important player for us. That was the only reason behind it, he was away in Holland having treatment, I would have sent him a carrier pigeon with a message, but I didn’t feel it was that important,” he concluded.
Amazingly, Van der Vaart believes that he could be fit in time to take on Liverpool at White Hart Lane on Sunday, after specialist treatment on a hamstring injury by countryman Dick van Toorn has shortened the midfielder’s time on the sidelines.
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