Only yesterday I penned an article regarding the fact that Scott Parker’s diminishing standard of performances have mirrored his clubs ailing fortunes. I was keen to highlight how the intensity of the Premier League demands rotation and that Redknapp’s persistence with his favoured starting XI was beginning to take its toll. It would appear that this is a popular opinion at present with on loan defender Vedran Corluka also voicing his concerns about Tottenham’s unseen rotation policy.
In a recent interview with The Sun Corluka declared that Spurs were paying the price for their reliance on “the same 11, 12, 13 players.” The defender, who is currently on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, fears his team-mates are beginning to show the effects of a gruelling season that once saw them hailed as outside title contenders.
“He didn’t rotate his players enough and that’s why they are really tired. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spurs finish sixth”
It’s difficult to find fault with Corluka’s argument, with the North London club struggling to play with the same pace and tempo that saw them run riot in the early stages of the season. Harry’s status as a master tactician has found itself scrutinised of late as the team have struggled to adapt from their favoured 4-5-1 formation when key players were sidelined. I sense that Corluka’s remarks were delivered with a hint of frustration, considering he was allowed to leave the club despite the fact Kyle Walker remains the only recognised or indeed experienced right-back in the squad.
Harry Redknapp has unsurprisingly sought to address these comments in the press, claiming that his defender’s observations were “a load of old nonsense” and simply an “excuse”. He went on to proclaim that there were other players at rival clubs who had endured more games than his current crop of supposedly weary stars.
“Gareth Bale has had to play, he’s a fantastic player. He and Luka Modric might have played 32 or 33 games this year, but I think Frank Lampard played 60 games in a season once [62 in 2009/10]. I didn’t see him talking about being rotated.
“I think Ashley Cole’s played 47 or 48 games this year, and Wayne Rooney’s played way into the 40s. They’re not being rotated.” (London24)
In a sense Harry is correct, none of his prized possessions featured in the Europa League or the early stages of the cup competitions. Yet, he may be slightly embarrassed to learn that both Bale and Modric have played 43 games for club and country this season, the exact same number as Wayne Rooney. Not only does this highlight Redknapp’s continued defiance but it doesn’t bode well for his pending role as England manager, given that the selection process will heavily rely on picking those that are fully match fit.
Redknapp insisted that none of his players have come to him complaining of fatigue or asking for a rest. He also mentioned that he doesn’t remember the greats of yesteryear like Bobby Moore or Geoff Hurst ever being rotated, which perhaps emphasises his failure to adapt and respond to the evolving demands of the modern game. It also brings into question whether Redknapp’s intimate relationship with the media is having an adverse effect, I can imagine certain players being fearful that if they did reveal something to their manager in confidence, it would soon find itself splashed across the back pages in the morning tabloids.
I must bring to light one point that Redknapp raised which I wholeheartedly agreed with. When do you hear people complaining about ‘squad rotation’ when things are going well.
“You know what happens, when you lose a few games everyone’s got something to say. You don’t hear anybody saying anything when you’re winning.”
Is it fair to say that Redknapp would have been equally criticised if he had tinkered with his successful formula? How often have we heard the popular belief that you should never change a winning team?
Many fans will be both shocked and surprised to hear Corluka’s comments, questioning the timing and the reasoning behind the Croatian’s attack on his own club. However, this could be the exact motivational tool Redknapp needs to help reignite his charge for Champions League qualification, especially as they prepare for a run-in cluttered with relegation threatened opponents, who certainly won’t need any inspiration of their own.
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