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Premier League

England talk will not distract Tottenham insists Harry Redknapp


Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp insists talk of him becoming the next England manager will not distract him or his players from their tilt at the Barclays Premier League title.

The Football Assocation are looking for a new national coach following Fabio Capello's resignation and Redknapp is the clear favourite to fill the role after his excellent work at White Hart Lane.

After just over three years at the helm, the 64-year-old has taken the club from rock bottom to third in the table and there is now a real possibility that Spurs can win their first championship since 1961.

Redknapp may have spent the last four days halfway across the world in Dubai, but he has been unable to escape the paper talk and public clamour for him to replace Capello.

The former Portsmouth and Southampton manager would be interested in taking the job but the FA appear to be willing to wait until the end of this month, or even the end of the season, before making their move.

Until that time comes, Redknapp insists he remains totally focused on his role as Tottenham manager.

"It is not a distraction, not at all," Redknapp said.

"I have just been thinking about Stevenage all week.

"My focus has to be on trying to get Tottenham as high as I can in the table.

"I can't start thinking about anything else really."

Spurs hammered Newcastle 5-0 after three days of intense speculation about Redknapp's future last weekend and he thinks that proves his players have also not being distracted by the speculation.

"The players came out, got on with it and played fantastic against Newcastle so it didn't distract anybody," he added.

"The whole team were outstanding. The way we played was top class and that was important."

Redknapp maintains that there has been no approach from the FA over replacing Capello and admits the decision to leave Tottenham, if he has to make it, will be a hard one given what he has achieved with the Londoners.

He said: "If you were managing a team that was struggling and you thought 'this lot aint too clever', it certainly would be different, but I am at a great club with good players and I haven't got any problems here.

"I get on well with the chairman. We have a good relationship, probably as good a relationship as he has had with any manager.

"We haven't got any problems here and at the moment there nothing else has happened.

"I've not spoken to anybody. I'm not going to rule myself out but I've not been ruled in either."

The FA Cup probably represents Spurs' best chance of winning a trophy this term.

Tottenham are the highest ranked team left in the competition, which they have not won since 1991, following the exit of both Manchester sides.

"We want to win the FA cup this year," said Redknapp, who lifted the trophy with Portsmouth four years ago.

"It would be great for the club. We are in there with a big chance and we have a team as good as any left in there."

Tottenham are expected to coast through to the last eight with a win over Stevenage on Sunday, but Redknapp insists his team will not be taking the npower League One side lightly.

"It will be a tough game," he said.

"They will be up for it, but we are a good team as well and if we play as we can we should win, but we know we will have to be at our best to do so."

Despite facing Arsenal and Manchester United in their following fixtures, Redknapp insists he will field a strong side for Sunday's game at Broadhall Way.

He is likely to hand 34-year-old Ryan Nelsen his full Spurs debut, however.

"The lads have said Ryan Nelsen has trained great this week," Redknapp said.

"I have always been a big fan of his. He is a great competitor.

"He is a player I'd like to get a game in to."