Harry Redknapp offers Steven Pienaar reassurance over Tottenham future
Tuesday 10 January 2012
Harry Redknapp has reassured Steven Pienaar and the rest of his fringe players that they can break into the Tottenham first-team in the second half of the season.
Tottenham face Everton at White Hart Lane tomorrow knowing a victory will put them level with second-placed Manchester United and three points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Redknapp is likely to recall the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale after resting them for Saturday's 3-0 FA Cup win over Cheltenham.
That could mean a return to the bench for Pienaar, who has started just five league games for Spurs and been linked with a return to Everton on loan, but Redknapp has told the 29-year-old that he can still force his way into his first-team plans.
"Players like Pienaar and (Niko) Kranjcar are good players and they can get in the team," Redknapp said. "You saw on Saturday that they have quality and they have a big part to play between now and the end of the season.
"Pienaar is a good lad and he is in the running to play on Wednesday now that he has got a game under his belt."
The South Africa midfielder suffered a concussion after clashing heads with team-mate Bongani Khumalo in February and picked up a niggling groin problem towards the end of last season.
He was confident the problem had gone away, but it flared up again in pre-season and he had to undergo surgery as a result, ruling him out until mid-September before another two setbacks kept him sidelined until November.
"With Pienaar the problem has been his injuries," Redknapp said. "He has never really got up and running. He seems to have injury after injury.
"He was one of their main players at Everton and it has been a difficult year for him."
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