Emmanuel Adebayor can handle derby says Harry Redknapp

 

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The Independent Online

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is sure that Emmanuel Adebayor will be able to keep his cool in Sunday's north London derby.

Adebayor's early goalscoring record made him a cult hero at Arsenal, but he caused fury among Gunners fans by pleading for a move to Manchester City and then performing an outrageous goal celebration when playing for the Lancashire club against his former team-mates in 2009.

After scoring at Eastlands, Adebayor sprinted the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans - a move which caused widespread condemnation from leading figures within the game.

Adebayor had spent the whole afternoon being barracked by the travelling fans and can expect an even more hostile reception on Sunday given that he now plays for Arsenal's bitter rivals.

Adebayor's temper flared during that match two years ago when he dragged his studs across Robin van Persie's face, but Redknapp is confident that the 27-year-old, who has scored three in three for Spurs since signing on loan, will remain calm during Sunday's clash at White Hart Lane.

"There is always aggravation when players leave clubs but he will get on and hopefully play well," Redknapp said.

"William Gallas played against Arsenal last year and for me was the man of the match.

"He showed his character last year in that game and I am sure Manu will do the same on Sunday.

"It is another great opportunity for Emmanuel Adebayor to play for Tottenham. He has been playing well for us, the crowd love him and he has been a big bonus for us so far. His performances have been fantastic. Let's hope he can keep that up."

Redknapp's men are currently sixth in the Barclays Premier League after putting a poor start behind them to go on a three-match winning streak.

Arsenal have endured a miserable start to the season - they have only won two games - but the Spurs boss thinks it would be foolish to write off the Gunners' title chances so early.

Redknapp said: "I would not write Arsenal off. If you write Arsenal off in your newspaper you could be made to eat all those words.

"They are a good side with a great manager."

Redknapp admits the highly-anticipated fixture, which last year ended in a 4-4 draw, has distracted his focus slightly from tomorrow's Europa League Group A match against Shamrock Rovers.

The Dublin-based team became the first Irish club to qualify for the main stages of a European competition earlier this summer when they upset the odds to beat Partizan Belgrade.

Rovers, who count former Spurs player Rohan Ricketts among their ranks, were given a swift reminder of the tough nature of European competition two weeks ago when they lost 3-0 at home to Rubin Kazan.

Redknapp, whose team opened their Europa League campaign with a 0-0 draw at PAOK Salonika, intends to rest the majority of his first team tomorrow, but insists Spurs will not be taking the match lightly.

"I have got two eyes on the derby. I'm not putting my first team out tomorrow but it'll be a team with some good, experienced players that will contain probably seven or eight full internationals," Redknapp said.

"Players like Gareth Bale and Adebayor will not play. I can't afford to miss them for the weekend.

"It's a game we're entitled to win. But they will rise to the big occasion. They're a good side and have done well.

"[Assistant manager] Joe Jordan went to watch them and was impressed. They went to Belgrade and won."

Redknapp revealed confirmed today that midfielder Tom Huddlestone requires another operation to clear up a long-term ankle injury.

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