Harry Redknapp calls time on culture of drinking

Alcohol is the 'main problem' behind recent scandals says Spurs manager as he tells players to live the Italian way

Harry Redknapp believes that English footballers must stop drinking alcohol and copy the lifestyles of their continental counterparts to help end the succession of scandals that has gripped the domestic game since the World Cup.

Wayne Rooney and Peter Crouch are the latest to feature on a rapidly lengthening list and the Tottenham manager regards alcohol as the root cause of the problem. Redknapp says that players should "dedicate" themselves to the game over the course of what is a relatively short career and cited the example of Paolo Maldini, the former Italy and Milan captain who retired aged 40, as well as the veteran Manchester United trio of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, as an older generation that the younger players need to try to emulate – as much off the pitch these days as on it.

England's failure in the World Cup finals in South Africa this summer has intensified the spotlight on players and there has been a string of salacious stories about Rooney and Crouch, who plays his club football for Redknapp, over the last few weeks. Jack Wilshere, the Arsenal midfielder who won his first England cap aged 18 in the post-World Cup friendly against Hungary, was left out of the England Under-21 starting line-up by Stuart Pearce last week because he was not considered to be in the right frame of mind following his arrest in the early hours of the morning for a "fracas" outside a club in west London.

"There is one main problem – it's called drink," said Redknapp yesterday. "Ninety per cent of the time these things don't happen unless players have a drink. We've all drunk – I've had a drink all my life, but these lads know that you can't do it any more. It's another world now."

Redknapp was embarrassed last year when it emerged his players had organised a Christmas party against his express wishes. At the time Redknapp said he was "shocked". He has changed his views over the years, acknowledging that he drank as a player, but is now firmly in the anti- camp. Players today, he says, should make sacrifices – and if they do, the rewards are huge if they are prepared to look after themselves and their bodies.

"Yes, now definitely [they should make sacrifices] – they have got to, otherwise we are going to keep seeing these things happening," continued Redknapp. "It is not all down to drink but a lot of it is. They should not put themselves in such positions. If they dedicate themselves for 10 years they are going to come out with so much money they never have to work again. They can live a fantastic life – they should dedicate themselves."

The culture of drink has long been ingrained in English football – and was when Redknapp was a player with West Ham United. But the increasing pace of the game and levels of fitness required from players, as well as the mushrooming attention on Premier League stars and their lifestyles away from the football field – as part of the explosion of a celebrity-driven culture – has seen his attitude change and increasingly harden. When he was manager of West Ham, he ordered that the players' post-match bar be alcohol-free.

The answer, according to Redknapp, is for British players to follow the examples of Italians in particular. "You don't see this happening to too many foreign players," said Redknapp. "I can't think of any.

"They [young players] should also look at the likes of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Why is Giggs playing so well at 36? He is still fit and still so fantastic. Also look at some of the Italian players, how fit they are. They are still playing Champions League football at 38, 39, 40. What an example someone like Maldini is – you have never read about him being drunk and disorderly."

Maldini spent 25 seasons at Milan and played in four World Cup finals before retiring last year. Milan have become famous for prolonging players' careers long past their perceived sell-by date – Alessandro Costacurta, too, lasted beyond his 40th birthday at San Siro – with David Beckham the latest ageing star to prosper at Milanello, the club's training ground.

Tottenham yesterday paraded their latest signing, Rafael van der Vaart. The Dutchman is married to Sylvie Meis, a model and TV presenter, and back home they top the celebrity A-list, but Van der Vaart says he has no qualms about moving to London and is certain he will stay out of public eye, off the pitch at any rate. "The only thing that counts is football," said the 27-year-old. "My private life is private and I don't like all the silly stuff. I only want to play football."

Redknapp will be hoping the Van der Vaart ethos can prove to be the dominant one in the White Hart Lane dressing room.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum