Defoe out for three months as Spurs' injuries multiply

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The Independent Online

Tottenham Hotspur were yesterday confirmed as the big domestic losers of international week when it was revealed that Jermain Defoe would be out for three months after undergoing surgery to repair torn ankle ligaments. Defoe was injured playing for England in Switzerland on Tuesday, three days after club team-mate Michael Dawson incurred ankle and knee ligament damage playing for England against Bulgaria.

Dawson will be out for up to eight weeks, leaving the way clear for William Gallas to make his Tottenham debut at West Bromwich Albion today. Defoe's injury is also a blow for Fabio Capello who must find a new leader of the line for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro next month. Bobby Zamora, who should return for Fulham today, is the prime candidate after a bright performance against Hungary last month.

Redknapp's sympathy for Capello is likely to be extremely limited, though the reality is he probably has the greater options with Peter Crouch, Roman Pavyluchenko and Robbie Keane capable of playing as front-runner. In addition he now has Rafael van der Vaart, whose preference is to play off a centre-forward.

The Dutchman is in line for a debut, possibly from the bench, as Redknapp juggles with a schedule of seven games in 22 days. "We play West Brom, then we play in the Champions League on Tuesday [at Werder Bremen], then in the League on Saturday, then we play Arsenal in the Carling Cup, then the League and another Champions League game.

"The one thing I did learn, a lesson, was maybe I should've changed the team that played against Wigan [and lost 1-0 at home]. We went to Stoke and had a great result on the Saturday, came back, won the Champions League qualifier with Young Boys. And then I really went with the same team, more or less, on the Saturday.

"Maybe I should've rested one or two and changed a few around, and it might have worked better for us. It's easy, in hindsight, to look back on those things."

It is with a view to managing those commitments, in particular with regard to Ledley King's fragile knee, that Redknapp may start with Gallas alongside Sébastien Bassong. The former Arsenal captain's recruitment is controversial but Redknapp is unperturbed. He said: "You don't play in teams that win championships, like he did at Chelsea, you don't play for your country as many times as he has – been there and done it all – unless you're a top player.

"He's got a bit of pace, he's a great defender, and he'll be a big asset. He's also an impressive fella. You need to be a strong character to make the move he has. I think he'll be a great signing for us."

Stipe Pletikosa, the Croatian goalkeeper, is also in line to start as Heurelho Gomes has a groin injury and Carlo Cudicini was at fault for Wigan's winner a fortnight ago.

Howard Webb referees, his first match since the World Cup final. Webb has made some poor decisions against Spurs in recent years and Redknapp said: "He's a top ref, I just don't ever seem to have any luck with him. He's had a great career and was a credit in the World Cup, but some refs never seem to work out right."

Counting the cost of the international break

International injuries...

Jermain Defoe Tore ankle ligaments in Basle on Tuesday and will be sidelined for three months.

Michael Dawson Damaged ankle and knee ligaments against Bulgaria and could be out for two months.

Theo Walcott Sprained his ankle in England's 3-1 win against Switzerland on Tuesday and will be out for around six weeks.

Dirk Kuyt Tore shoulder ligaments attempting a scissor kick in training with the Dutch. The Liverpool striker is estimated to be unavailable for a month.

Louis Saha Picked up a calf strain 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute for France. Manager David Moyes confirmed he will be out for three weeks.

Alexander Hleb Suffered a leg injury while playing for Belarus against Turkey on Tuesday. Will miss Birmingham's game against Liverpool tomorrow.

Thomas Vermaelen Slightly injured Achilles while captaining Belgium in a 3-2 defeat in Turkey, but may miss only one game for Arsenal.

...and those who sat out the week

Ivan Klasnic Made himself unavailable for Croatia's 0-0 draw with Greece on Tuesday but is in contention to play in today for Bolton against Arsenal.

John Terry Missed England's internationals with a hamstring injury but will return today for Chelsea.

Didier Drogba Was too tired to play for Ivory Coast, deciding to recover to regain his mental and physical strength. Expected to start today.

Steven Fletcher Missed Scotland's win against Liechtenstein on Tuesday with a foot injury but looks set to play for Wolves against Fulham today.

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