McLeish hails Carr comeback

Boss delighted with way defender has resurrected career at Blues

Carr: Rejuvenated

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Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has hailed Stephen Carr's professionalism ahead of a busy afternoon for the defender.

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The veteran former Spurs full-back is set to face his old club - and the threat of Gareth Bale - at St Andrews on Saturday.

This all seemed a world away when Carr retired from playing in December 2008 after four injury-plagued seasons at Newcastle.

But the 34-year-old has gone on to resurrect his career with the Blues, playing 70 times for McLeish's side.

The Blues boss has hailed the right-back's work ethic as his side seek to maintain a four-match unbeaten run going into the game with Spurs.

Beast

McLeish told The Sun: "Stevie trains like a beast, he plays like a beast. I like to see players training the way they play on a Saturday.

"We have that kind of ethic at this club and Stevie typifies that. He's been a revelation.

"He's looking like a young guy, he's like a sprinter. Sometimes you see a full-back going forward and they have to get a taxi to get back.

"But Stevie Carr is right back in as soon as he's mounted an attack. His recovery levels are fantastic.

"When he retired, he didn't want to drop down levels, he felt that he knew his level, knew his standard. So when we came along, we appealed to him and you've got to admire that stance.

"He was keeping himself fit in the gym every day and he was obviously missing football. Maybe that six months out has extended his career as well."

Bargain basements

McLeish added: "These are the bargain basements that you absolutely love, and the club love.

"When you get players like that on free transfers then you're all doing the club a service.

"Guys like Stevie go through brick walls to win you games."

Saturday's opponent Bale hit a hat-trick against European champions Inter Milan in the defeat at the San Siro and then destroyed Rafa Benitez's side at White Hart Lane.

While acknowledging the threat posed by the Welsh wizard, McLeish believes the Blues have the nous to deal with him.

He added: "Bale's a great player. You do try to deal with the supply, but also when Bale goes off on his runs, you can't leave one-on-one exposure.

"We saw the Inter Milan game and he ran from the halfway line and I saw a very naive defender fly in when he should've backed off - that was just pure bad defending.

"I'd like to think our defenders aren't as naive as the Inter Milan guy was."

What will be the outcome in the match Birmingham vs Tottenham?

  • Birmingham
  • Draw
  • Tottenham