Football FanCast columnist ‘The New Voice of Football' looks at how Harry turned the fortunes around for Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
When Daniel Levy finally saw fit to throw his mini-me Damien Comolli out of the backdoor at White Hart Lane, the hapless twit left rather a lot of rubbish behind in North London before setting out to hitchhike back to France. There were literally bodies littered around from his time at Spurs that had cost money, were supposed to be good, but alas showed little or no sign of actually being worth the dosh shelled out to bring them to the Premier League.
Harry arrived and you just knew he would get the best out of players like Luka Modric and Heurelho Gomes, class acts, and in time maybe even the ‘Argos Beckham', David Bentley and Gareth ‘Jonas' Bale. However, never in a decade of leap-years did I think Redknapp could turn Benoit Assou Ekotto into a player that looked comfortable in the toughest league in the world.
This was surely a player that had no future at Tottenham. How I laid awake at night, hoping Comolli would be back lurking around the tradesman's exit at The Lane, with a super-size bin-liner to kidnap the fullback, who appeared not to be worth half a Twix and a bag of crisps. It would have to be a big bin-bag too, given that he was in a two horse race with Marouane Fellaini to grow afro of the millennium at the time (couldn't even win that). A player destined to be remembered in North London as the man who stole the ridiculous hairdo bragging rights from Bacary ‘Floella Benjamin' Sagna, albeit momentarily.
Fast forward to the present day and it would appear Harry really can turn wine into water. Benoit's transformation has been nothing short of a miracle, competent and assured in the Spurs defence, but still prone to the odd; let's call it like Arsene ‘reflex action' in the box. Didn't matter none of them were given, suddenly the worm had turned, not only looking like a decent footballer, but being lucky and also solving Harry's headache with Jonas on the left side of the back four. Indeed the boy has even played his way into the Cameroon national side, despite really wanting to play for France, where he was born.
Brought in by Comolli in 2006, for around £3.5million from RC Lens, with our dear former sporting director, describing him as one of the hottest and brightest prospects in France at the time. Assou-Ekotto is now looking worth every penny and a positive bargain, so much so, that Redknapp will have no fears about Gareth bailing in January, with the young Welshman being sniffed around by Serie A sides.
Some might say at the age of 25, it's about time Benoit proved his worth at Spurs. Moreover, some might wonder how many other diamonds are waiting to be polished in the White half of North London. One thing is for sure though, as it stands the player, who has gone from being the subject of well deserved ridicule is now arguably the greatest legacy of the days of the dark knight at Tottenham. So perhaps Comolli did actually do something positive during his time at Tottenham and not just interfere and be Levy's yes-man. Not suggesting for a moment, that I want the idiot back though.