Lee Dixon: Redknapp can come through his injury crisis and prove he is the man for England

The Weekend Dossier
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I would love to see Harry Redknapp as the next England manager when Fabio Capello steps down in two years' time. I have always believed that it should be an Englishman who manages the national side – wherever possible I think it is better for countries to be managed by their own men and there is nobody better suited to taking on our job than Harry.

I wanted him to get it when Capello was appointed. He knows the game so well and just seems to love it more and more, and appreciate it more and more, the older he gets. There may not in truth be many obvious alternatives, but he has all the credentials you need.

Age – he will be 65 in 2012 – should be no problem for him with his outlook on life. He was out in South Africa for the World Cup and you can just sit and chat with him about football for hour after hour. He is one of the game's genuine enthusiasts.

One thing is for sure with Harry: players would be left in no doubt at half-time what he wanted from them. He is adept at changing things around, a skill that is going to be put to the test this season as he has a new challenge with Spurs in the Champions League and a better and bigger squad than he has ever had to deal with, even without the injured Michael Dawson and now Jermain Defoe for some time.

Tottenham still have options going forward with Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Robbie Keane. Rafael van der Vaart gives Redknapp even more scope and he can play either off the front two or in his favourite position in the hole behind one or two strikers.

Redknapp likes to use 4-4-2 and although I have gone on about how much I dislike England using that line-up, there is no reason it can't work at club level. Away from home if you have two wide men pushing up with two strikers it can lock the opposition back four deeper.

There is a balanced look to Tottenham with Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale giving width, while Wilson Palacios has added that steel to midfield and that allows Luka Modric or Van der Vaart or Niko Kranjcar or Tom Huddlestone to play. I think Harry will chop and change this season, especially with the Champions League to deal with as well. He has said he may even look to play just one up front on their travels, which would suit Van der Vaart as he could then slot in behind the front man.

Sometimes though you can become too wrapped up in formations. Of course, you need to have a solid back four in place, but what defenders like is to know who they are going to mark. You like to know your man and stick with him so when you are faced with a fluid attack with mobile wingers it makes your job so much more difficult. Movement messes you up.

Drinking culture has changed, not disappeared

It was interesting to hear Harry Redknapp talk of the need for players to make sacrifices and stop drinking. I was involved in the transition from the "good" old days to the more modern approach – I sampled both sides. I was never a big drinker but that is not to say I never did, a beer after a game, a glass of win with a meal. And then there was the Tuesday club.

On Tuesdays George Graham would give us a physical, which usually meant running round Highbury until you were sick. Wednesday was a day off so when training was finished it was time for the club to meet.

I used to go to about one a month. We would have a few drinks: for me it meant say six or seven pints and then home not feeling too clever, for others it was much more. At the next training there would be a tell-tale sign of who the big drinkers were – the rustle of plastic. There was a belief that if you wore a plastic bin liner beneath your training kit it helped sweat off the effects of a drinking session as quickly as possible, as well as leaving you pretty close to dehydration.

The arrival of foreign players has changed the culture. We used to have a big Christmas party and the next day off to get over it. Patrick Vieira arrived at his first one and chucked his car keys on the table. Nobody could believe it – and he couldn't believe that we were all there to drink. It was unheard of to him and emphasised a completely different mindset. It has turned around now for good.

Five a sides

1 Black Cats right to take big gamble on Gyan

Sunderland paid £13m for Asamoah Gyan, which is a huge amount of money for the club. It is a gamble on a young player who has never played in the Premier League before, but from what I saw of him in South Africa, the Ghana striker has every chance of being a success in England. He is an effervescent player with lots of energy and decent feet. He showed plenty of character in the World Cup too which adds to the likelihood of him doing well here.



2 Houllier can become a hero for Villa

The fact that Gérard Houllier was so keen to throw himself back into the cauldron of the Premier League should be a cause for optimism among Aston Villa fans. Some may have been indifferent about him, but I can see it working well.



3 Parker's deal is rare ray of light at Upton Park

Some badly needed good news for West Ham with Scott Parker signing a new contract. Without him things would be even worse, although it is already looking bleak – bottom of the table with a goal difference of minus eight.



4 Blackpool's strip illuminates the League

Whatever happens to Blackpool this season, I am ready to give them one prize – they have the best kit in the Premier League.





5 I'm off to live the high life on my bicycle

I'm going to indulge in my other sporting passion next week, although by the end of it I'm not sure whether I will have any passion left at all. I'm cycling across the Pyrenees and the aim is to do 22,000m of climbing which is going to be some experience.

Dixon's Weekend Verdict

Everton vs Manchester United

Dixon's verdict: I tipped Everton to do well this season but they have not started very well. David Moyes will have his concerns and I don't think they will get anything from today.

Kick-off: Today, 12:45pm (Sky Sports 2; Highlights BBC1, 11pm)

Prediction: Victory for Manchester United

Arsenal vs Bolton Wanderers

Dixon's verdict: Bolton have started the season pretty well, but if Arsenal hold serious ambitions about winning the league then no matter who is injured this is a game they simply have to win

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC1, 11pm)

Prediction: Home win

Fulham vs Wolverhampton Wdrs

Dixon's verdict: Wolves have a look to them this season – I like the way Mick McCarthy has got them set up. Doyle gives them something extra up front and I think they can get something here

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC1, 11pm)

Prediction: Away win

Manchester City vs Blackburn Rovers

Dixon's verdict: Much like Arsenal, if Manchester City want to finish in the top four, or be a challenger to go even higher, then this is a game they need to win. Blackburn are good at home, but not so much of a threat on the road

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC1, 11pm)

Prediction: City win

Newcastle United vs Blackpool

Dixon's verdict: Newcastle have made a half decent start and surprised some people – not least Aston Villa – and they are particularly effective at home. Their form at St James' Park will be key to their survival

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC1, 11pm)

Prediction: Victory for Newcastle

West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur

Dixon's verdict: Tottenham may have had their injury problems with no Defoe and no Dawson, but they will still field a strong looking line-up. West Brom often do well at home, but not today.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC1, 11pm)

Prediction: Away win for Spurs

West Ham United vs Chelsea

Dixon's verdict: Another six for Chelsea? You can't see anything other than a convincing win for the champions, but let's be kind to West Ham and say they will keep it down to a couple

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC1, 11pm)

Prediction: Chelsea win again

Wigan Athletic vs Sunderland

Dixon's verdict: Sunderland are looking half decent and it will be interesting to see how Gyan and Bent get together. Wigan have been awful but then won at Tottenham so perhaps they have bucked up

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC1, 11pm)

Prediction: Draw

Birmingham City vs Liverpool

Dixon's verdict: I didn't think Liverpool would get back among the top four at the start of the season and I have seen nothing so far to make me change my mind. Birmingham are well-organised.

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 4pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights BBC2, 10.30pm)

Prediction: Another draw

Stoke City vs Aston Villa

Dixon's verdict: Stoke may have lost their first three games but this is still a tough trip for Aston Villa without Gerarrd Houllier. Stoke have not played that badly and remain an effective and combative force at home.

Kick-off: Monday, 8pm (Sky Sports 1)

Prediction: Draw

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