Redknapp 'hopeful' of Beckham deal after day of mixed messages

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Charlton Athletic 0
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The Independent Football

David Beckham will meet with Tottenham's medical staff at the club's training ground this morning before beginning training with the first team tomorrow and both the player and the club are hopeful he could yet feature on the pitch too.

Another day of mixed messages coming out of White Hart Lane ended with Harry Redknapp and sources close to the deal contradicting earlier claims he would only be training with Tottenham due to "insurance issues." If the medical staff are happy with his fitness, Beckham may yet make a stunning return to English football against his old club Manchester United on Sunday.

Yesterday morning, Redknapp said the midfielder would not join the club due to "insurance issues" but instead would simply spend a few weeks training with them. After the victory over Charlton, the Tottenham manager changed tack, saying he was once again "hopeful" that it might happen after all.

"That's being done above my head," he said, "but hopefully it could still happen. The situation is ongoing. I was led to believe that it was an insurance problem, but apparently that's not the case."

Beckham, who announced yesterday that his wife is pregnant with their fourth child, will definitely be training with Redknapp and his team in the Major Soccer League off-season. The club released a statement reading: "Tottenham Hotspur is delighted to announce that England's most capped outfield player will train with the first-team squad. David will train with the club until February 10."

The 35-year-old was also pleased to get the opportunity to work with the team, telling the club website: "It's important that I maintain a high level of fitness during the MLS off-season, I look forward to getting to work as soon as possible."

Redknapp is keen for the player to be involved with his team in any way as Spurs remain in contention for the league title and Champions League and FA Cup trophies. "David is a fantastic professional, he will be a great influence around the place and I am sure we will all benefit from his winning mentality," Redknapp said.

A few hours before suggesting the deal could be back on, Redknapp had been certain it was not going ahead. "I don't think it's going to happen," he had said. "I spoke with the chairman and I think there are big problems with insurance issues and everything. He got injured last year at Milan, I think there were issues there with insurance. David is welcome to come and train here for a month or so, which I think he would like to do, but, as far as playing goes, it looks like a no-goer."

However, it became clear after the match that insurance was not an issue as it is understood that Beckham paid for his own insurance when he went on loan to Milan.

LA Galaxy have obvious concerns over the player's fitness after Beckham tore his left Achilles tendon and was out for five months in his second spell on loan to Milan last year. The injury meant he missed the World Cup and was unavailable for Galaxy at the start of their domestic season.

Yesterday, Andros Townsend, making his debut for Tottenham, proved the club have options on the right side of midfield even if the deal for Beckham does not happen. After a quiet first half, he injected some life into the game with the opener just after half-time. The 19-year-old winger moved into the centre and received the ball from Sandro before striking it low into the left corner.

More goals quickly followed with two in the space of two minutes. Prior to the match, Jermaine Defoe had scored six goals in eight matches against Charlton and added two more to that. In the 58th minute, Defoe dribbled past Christian Dailly on the edge of the box and got the ball onto his right foot before finishing low into the left corner.

Then, on the hour, he deflated Charlton further when his own pass ricocheted back to him in the box and, though his first effort was saved by the feet of Rob Elliot, the ball came back to him a second time and he made no mistake.

Carlo Cudicini had little to do but was solid when needed. He was across well to his left to keep out Matt Fryatt's 35-yard strike in the 50th minute and was well positioned to punch substitute Kyel Reid's powerful drive over the bar in the 75th.

Tottenham looked most likely to increase their lead throughout the second half. In a ten-minute spell before Defoe's goals, Roman Pavlyuchenko had a shot well-saved by Elliot, while substitute Luka Modric and Defoe went close as Spurs showed that, with or without Beckham, they will not be easy to beat.

Tottenham (4-4-2): Cudicini; Corluka, Assou-Ekotto, Bassong, Dawson; Kranjcar, Townsend, Palacios (Modric, 46), Sandro; Defoe, Pavlyuchenko. Substitutes not used Pletikosa, Hutton, Lennon, Jenas, Van der Vaart. Booked: Sandro.

Charlton Atheltic (4-5-1): Elliot; Francis, Fry, Doherty, Dailly; Jackson, Wagstaff, Semedo, Racon, McCormack (Reid, 61); Anyinsah (Sodje, 70). Substitutes not used Worner, Llera, Abbott, Fortune, Jenkinson.

Referee M Oliver (Northumberland).

Possession Tottenham 43% Charlton 53%

Shots on target Tottenham 16 Charlton 4

Man of the match Defoe.

Match rating 7/10. Attendance 35,698.