Redknapp: I wanted to keep Woodgate here

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp has revealed his frustration over Jonathan Woodgate's departure from Tottenham Hotspur after the club refused to insure the central defender ahead of pre-season training.

Woodgate moved to Stoke City – Tottenham's Carling Cup opponents tonight – but would have been in the Tottenham squad to face Tony Pulis's side if Redknapp had his way.

The 31-year-old described feeling "humiliated" when he arrived at Spurs' headquarters in Essex, only to be told he had no future at White Hart Lane.

"I wanted to keep him here and wouldn't have let Jonathan go," Redknapp said. "He came back on the first day of pre-season after I spoke to him in the summer and said: 'Come back, train and we might have to do a pay-as-you-play deal, but I want you to stay here'. The secretary, when he came in, said he couldn't train. He wasn't insured to train."

Woodgate paid the price for making only four appearances in his final two seasons at Spurs. He has already played more times for his new club and featuring regularly means he is likely to be rested for tonight's third-round tie.

Redknapp added: "I can understand the club's point of view. They paid him for two years and he hasn't played a game. It's all right for me, it's not my money. They decided he couldn't stay and Tony has obviously taken an absolute top-class centre-half."

Redknapp's frustration with Woodgate's departure is echoed in his feelings towards midfielder Wilson Palacios also joining Pulis's squad.

Palacios, who joined Stoke with Peter Crouch before the transfer deadline, struggled with a knee injury after making an instant impact when he arrived from Wigan Athletic in Redknapp's first season.

"Wilson had his injuries, that was the problem. His form dipped and we couldn't get him fit and playing regularly. Maybe at Stoke they can do that," he said. "They have three very good players from us."

Redknapp will rotate his squad following Sunday's 4-0 victory over Liverpool in the Premier League. Heurelho Gomes is expected to start in goal, while William Gallas and Sandro return from injury.

Despite three players going to Stoke, Redknapp is pleased with the arrival of Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor and feels his fringe players can help the club compete for a top-four place in the league.

"I know the team I'd like to play in an ideal world and we're not far from that," he said. "If Aaron Lennon and Steven Pienaar come back you can see us pushing on."

Redknapp will revert to his full-strength team if they reach the latter stages. It will mean the likes of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale returning. Bale, the Wales midfield player, insists the squad at Redknapp's disposal gives them a genuine chance of success. He said: "There are no doubts in the changing room about finishing in the top four, and I am sure that we will."