Harry Redknapp keen to hold on to FA Cup hero Ryan Nelsen
Wednesday 28 March 2012
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp confirmed Ryan Nelsen would be offered a new contract following his key role in last night's 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Bolton.
Nelsen set Spurs on the road Wembley, and a semi-final showdown with Chelsea, with his first goal since moving to White Hart Lane on a free transfer from Blackburn earlier this year.
Tottenham had been frustrated by a brilliant performance from Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan before Nelsen's back-post header in the 74th minute broke the deadlock.
Gareth Bale quickly added a second and Louis Saha rounded off the scoring for Spurs after Kevin Davies had notched a consolation strike.
Redknapp was full of praise for Nelsen's performance and compared his influence at the club to that of Scott Parker.
"I thought he was fantastic tonight," Redknapp said. "I just think he is a great professional and a real good player.
"I couldn't believe I got him on a free. I felt it was an amazing player to bring to the club, he is a player I have chased for years.
"I have always thought he was top class, a great pro, a great trainer, a fantastic person.
"He has got a six-month contract. At the end of the season you have got to keep him here next year because he's worth his weight in gold just to have around for other people to look at the way he works, the way he trains, the way he behaves, his attitude.
"That's what football clubs are built upon, people like him, Scott Parker, Brad Friedel. You bring them in and it changes everything.
"That has been the difference this year."
Redknapp is relishing an FA Cup semi-final showdown with Chelsea, while Liverpool will tackle Everton in a Merseyside derby day at Wembley on the same weekend.
"I am looking forward to a great (semi-finals) weekend. They will be two great games, a London derby and a Merseyside derby," Redknapp said.
"You wouldn't like to pick a winner. It is wide open."
Last night's match was preceded by a minute of applause for Fabrice Muamba, who has made "encouraging progress" since he collapsed in the original match but remains in intensive care.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle believes Muamba's plight has had a positive impact on the whole of football.
"It is the best game in the world and the events of the last 10 days have brought that home to everybody," Coyle said.
"That strength of unity, that togetherness has been so positive and long may that continue.
"When we used to go to games and there was old-fashioned banter that was quite humorous, we have gone away from that. Sometimes people want to get abusive.
"But for the last 10 days at the games it has been incredible and I think that has been great. It shows football in such a good light.
"It is the game we play and the game we love and when the games start we have to make sure, from a Bolton Wanderers point of view, we get enough points to stay in the Premier League.
"Fabrice continues to get better. That is what we are all after."
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