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FA & League Cups

Redknapp compares Ranieri to Socrates

Harry Redknapp is set to unveil a Brazilian who reminds him of the legendary Socrates against Arsenal in the Carling Cup tonight.

The Tottenham manager will hand Sandro Ranieri his debut in midfield as he rings the changes to protect his Champions League stars.

Redknapp paid £8million for the 21-year-old from Internacional in the summer without seeing him play, other than on videos. But he admits Sandro could break his way into the Tottenham first team if he seizes his Carling Cup opportunity.

Redknapp explained: "He looks like Socrates. He runs like him. If he can play like him we'll be all right.

"He does have that funny running action. There were two top Spanish clubs in for him.

"I couldn't get to Brazil with us being in the situation last year where we were trying to finish in the top four. So (chief scout) Ian (Broomfield) went over.

"We spoke to people in Brazil, we spoke to (former Brazil manager) Dunga and they all said: 'You've got a real good one there'.

"Ian saw him four times and he had no doubts. He raved about him. You don't get into the Brazilian national squad if you're a mug, do you?"

Sandro will get his chance alongside other Tottenham youngsters such as 21-year-old Jake Livermore and, if fit, 18-year-old Steven Caulker.

But while Caulker has become the newest youngster to be described as the 'next Rio Ferdinand' it is Sandro's likeness to Socrates, the playmaker who helped deliver the 1994 World Cup for Brazil, which excites Redknapp.

"He's not a Robinho," said Redknapp. "He's a big lad, he gets around the pitch, he can tackle, he can pass it and play.

"He's a box to box midfield player. Maybe an Abou Diaby-type from Arsenal. A big rangy type of player. A Patrick Vieira-type player perhaps.

"He's totally dedicated to his football. He's not going to go off Samba dancing anywhere."

Redknapp wants to use the match to give first-teamers such as Gareth Bale and new signing Rafael van der Vaart a rest while he intends to give David Bentley a chance, as well as looking at third choice goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.

Redknapp denies that by playing youngsters and reserves he is disrespecting the tournament.

"If we weren't in Europe, I would have a real go to win the Carling Cup," he said.