Redknapp predicts Premier League going abroad

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp believes Premier League football one day will be played all around the world.

The Tottenham manager says it is the inevitable outcome from the influx of foreign owners in the English league.

In a week in which Liverpool's future has been fought out in courts on both sides of the Atlantic, Redknapp describes the changing face of English football traditions as "sad".

He said: "You're not going to bring people in from America and suddenly they are going to have real understanding of football. They buy it as an investment.

"When we started playing football Bob Lord, the chairman at Burnley, was the local butcher. At West Ham, the owner had a wood yard up in Wanstead flats, it was their club and they lived for it. The same at Arsenal and Tottenham.

"Now we are full of foreign owners. It's nice to see clubs owned by people with feelings for the club, English owners, like at West Ham. Tottenham are the same, we have English owners. It's important they understand the tradition of the club and what the fans feel and expect.

"Sheffield Wednesday are being bought by someone in the Far East - we'll all end up playing our games in the Far East. We'll end up with games all over the world. That's what will happen eventually. They'll want to take their club to their own countries to play."

Redknapp takes his Tottenham side to Fulham tomorrow, a club with an Egyptian owner in Mohamed Al Fayed, but he is more concerned with taking three points than worrying about resting players for the Champions League encounter against Inter Milan on Wednesday.

With long-term injury victim Michael Dawson still missing and William Gallas and Younes Kaboul back in training but not yet ready, Redknapp's big decision is whether to play central defender Ledley King tomorrow or on Wednesday. His chronic knee injuries prevent him playing twice in close succession.

But Redknapp insists the league remains Tottenham's priority.

"It is hard balancing the Champions League with the Premier League," admitted Redknapp.

"If we want to play Champions League football like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal invariably do every year we have to finish in the top four again.

"We also want a good run in the Champions League but if you go out of the Champions League and finish halfway up the table, at the end of the year if you are not in European football it is not good. These next two league games for me are massive."

His Tottenham team come up against Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy tomorrow but Redknapp does not believe there will be any fall-out from Murphy's controversial comments this week in which he blames reckless challenges on managers sending out players too "pumped up".

Redknapp said: "Will they kick lumps out of him? I don't think so. Danny is a good ambassador of the game.

"I've never come across a manager who said to people go into reckless challenges, break someone's legs or kick lumps out of them. I don't think that goes on.

"With some teams you have to get in their faces because if you let them pass it they'll murder you. But no-one wants to see crazy, reckless challenges.

"It is the same people who keep getting sent off or making rash challenges that have to calm themselves down a bit."

Redknapp, who revealed defender Jonathan Woodgate has had another injection in his groin to try to resurrect a career curtailed by injury, also believes Liverpool's players and manager Roy Hodgson will not be affected by the takeover traumas at Anfield.

"Roy will just get on with the job," said Redknapp. "It might be difficult for him but players don't care who owns their football club. They don't suddenly not perform because of the owner. They get paid every week. They just get on and play.

"For the manager it is different. A new owner can come in and get rid of you. But whoever comes in at Liverpool they know they have a fantastic manager in Roy Hodgson."

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