Pleat makes Carr Tottenham captain

David Pleat hopes that making Stephen Carr Tottenham's captain will persuade the Republic of Ireland international to stay at the club.

Carr is a fans' favourite at White Hart Lane and one of the club's most valuable assets, but there has been speculation that he will follow Sol Campbell's example and leave the club on a free transfer when his contract runs out at the end of next season.

When Pleat took temporary charge of the team last month following Glenn Hoddle's departure, one of his first acts was to appoint Carr as captain in the absence of the injured Jamie Redknapp.

Spurs have not lost since, and have conceded just one goal under the right-back's leadership, and as he prepared his team for tomorrow's visit of Bolton, Pleat hailed Carr as a "father figure" to younger Spurs players.

"I wanted to see if Stephen would thrive on a bit more responsibility and I am more than happy," Pleat said.

"For example, I made an adjustment in the second half against West Ham the other night and at half-time I told only two players I would be doing it - Stephen and Robbie Keane. When it came to making the change the team went straight into it, and that is the mark of a good captain.

"You don't know what is inside any player's head but you would hope any good young professional would thrive on more responsibility. It was good for Carr at the time and so far it has been good for us.

"There is a strong Irish connection here. Apart from the three players you see in the first team we have three good youngsters, Stephen Kelly, Mark Hughes and Mark Yeates - and Carr can be a father figure. The Irish boys particularly talk to him.

"Steve will in the end do what his mind and his feelings tell him, and whatever he does we shall wish him all the best. That isn't an issue at the moment because his contract doesn't run out this season."

Pleat, Spurs' director of football, dismissed speculation that he had been confirmed as manager for the rest of the season. "With any coach or manager, the longer you work with him you would hope things would get better because he gets ideas into them that they begin to show," he said.

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