Aaron Lennon contradicts Harry Redknapp's illness claim
Wednesday 06 April 2011
It’s the name that is going to be attached to the team selected from the best overseas players in Super League that will play England on June 10.
Redknapp had to replace Lennon with Jermaine Jenas just five minutes before the first leg of the quarter-final clash at the Bernabeu after an illness he had since Sunday left him feeling drained following the warm-up.
The England winger reacted furiously to claims that he had passed on the opportunity to showcase his talents against Real, revealing on Twitter today that he had been given antibiotics to solve the problem at the weekend.
Lennon said: "Believe me this is one game I did not want to miss and (I am) still devastated now.
"But (I) will not be made a scapegoat, saying they only knew just before kick-off.
"Saying I fell ill before the game is bull****. I fell ill on Sunday morning when the medical team put me on antibiotics, but (it) only got worse before Tuesday."
Redknapp watched on as his side capitulated to a 4-0 defeat to the nine-time European champions, who took a huge step towards the semi-finals with a brace from Emmanuel Adebayor and strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria.
The Tottenham boss denied that he has any problem with Lennon's decision to withdraw, despite the influence he could have had on the game had he been fit.
"No one is blaming Aaron for not playing. He's been fantastic for us. I've got no problems with the kid whatsoever," Redknapp told talkSPORT.
"I was sitting in the dressing room before the match, looking at his face. He's normally chirpy before he goes out and I looked and he didn't look well.
"I had to make a decision. It wasn't Aaron's fault. He didn't bottle anything. The kid wasn't well. No one's made him a scapegoat."
Redknapp handed in the team sheet with Lennon's name on during the warm-up and only changed his starting XI after the former Leeds man complained of feeling he had no energy five minutes before kick-off.
Despite Lennon being on antibiotics since Sunday, Redknapp insists he was right to select the winger in his team before he pulled out.
"Aaron hadn't been feeling well during the day. The doctor came to me and said 'look, he is on antibiotics, I think he will be OK'," Redknapp said.
"I had to make a decision. He was key to everything we wanted to do yesterday, him and Gareth Bale were really where we were looking to cause problems to Real Madrid.
"He's been fantastic for me since I've been at the club and I was desperate for him to play but do I take the chance of sending the kid out when he doesn't feel he's got any strength or energy to go and play in a game like that. So I said, 'look I know how much you want to play but you can't take the chance here if you don't feel you can go out and do yourself justice' and that was it."
Lennon will be assessed at Tottenham's training ground tomorrow to see if he will be fit for Saturday's Barclays Premier League game against Stoke.
Four days after that match, Jose Mourinho's men will arrive at White Hart Lane looking to finish Spurs off and set up a potential Champions League semi-final tie with Barcelona.
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