Harry Redknapp today backed the misfiring Aaron Lennon to shake off his slump in form ahead of Tottenham's Champions League clash with FC Twente tomorrow night.
England winger Lennon has failed to hit the heights since returning from almost four months out with a groin injury back in April, enduring a miserable World Cup and a poor start to the current season.
The 23-year-old has found himself substituted in most of his club's games this term, while he has also been frozen out by national team boss Fabio Capello.
Spurs manager Redknapp must decide whether to start Lennon in tomorrow night's Group A clash or play the in-form Rafael van der Vaart out wide.
But regardless of his team selection against the Dutch champions, Redknapp is certain Lennon will eventually come good.
"He's had the injury and he had a quiet World Cup, really," Redknapp said.
"I think he's getting over the injury from last season. But he's a matchwinner on his day and it's very hard to be consistent when you play out in that wide position, when you've got to beat people every week and people expect you to get the ball and go whizzing past full-backs, cross balls.
"Full-backs now are as quick as wingers, they get tight, they stop you getting the ball.
"You've got to work very hard to get on the ball now when you play in that wide position.
"It's not always easy but he'll come good."
Fellow midfielder Tom Huddlestone believes Lennon is suffering from being double-marked by opponents this season.
"I think a lot of teams know his qualities," said Huddlestone, who could captain Spurs tomorrow.
"At the West Ham game at the weekend, he had a left-back against him and (Luis) Boa Morte - even though he played left-wing - didn't really get forward that much.
"It was sort of a doubling act on Aaron.
"Anybody with two players on them is going to find it difficult."
Lennon would do well to take a leaf out of the book of team-mate Gareth Bale, who is currently one of the most in-form left-sided players around.
Wales star Bale has thrived on the wing at White Hart Lane this season but Redknapp sees him eventually dropping back and becoming the best left-back in the world.
Comparing the 21-year-old to former Leeds and England star Terry Cooper, who made the same move, Redknapp said: "I think in years to come, he'll be the best left-back anywhere.
"But he's also a great left-sided player and it suits me to play him wide left most of the time because (Benoit Assou-) Ekotto is also a top, top-class left-back."
Despite his concerns over Lennon, Redknapp's real worry tomorrow night lies at the back, where he has just one fully fit recognised centre-half in Sebastien Bassong.
He may risk captain Ledley King, but if not, Vedran Corluka will continue in the heart of defence.
Redknapp believes his current injury worries have not helped his side as they have struggled to balance their Champions League and Barclays Premier League commitments.
"The biggest problem you have is probably getting the players up for the Premier League games after the Champions League," said Redknapp, whose side have won just two of their six league matches this term.
"You have to juggle around your team, I've found and when you keep changing your team, it makes it difficult to get continuity.
"We've had to do that an awful lot - change the team - probably through injury more than anything, especially in the back."
Redknapp revealed he had spoken to Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola about the problem, which he also encountered during the Blues' early European forays while at Stamford Bridge.
Redknapp said: "Champions League is suddenly something fantastic, new, and then getting up again for the maybe more bread and butter games, they found difficult at Chelsea in the early days.
"But I think they've obviously come to terms with that now.
"So it's something we've got to make sure we do, get ourselves up for another tough game on Saturday."
Before that is a match against Twente tomorrow, which Redknapp described as must-win.
"It's a tight group," he said.
"Every points are going to be very vital. I think we need to win our home games; obviously, if you do that, you'll qualify.
"So tomorrow's a massive game for us; it's a game we need to win."Reuse content