Redknapp reveals Rafael risk
Spurs boss gambled on Dutchman's fitness
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: December 27, 2010 11:06am
Van der Vaart: Shone on Boxing Day
Harry Redknapp admits he was in two minds whether to recall Rafael van der Vaart on Boxing Day.
The Dutchman had sat out Tottenham's previous three games heading into Sunday's showdown with Aston Villa.
It was, however, decided that he was free of hamstring trouble and ready to make a Premier League return.
The gamble to start him paid off handsomely for Spurs as he notched a match-winning double in a 2-1 victory.
Redknapp was delighted to see his selection poser pay off, but revealed afterwards that he had considered hauling Van der Vaart off as a precaution before he grabbed his second of the game.
"I took a gamble with him because he has had a hamstring problem, and when he gets tired he tends to get injuries," said the Tottenham boss.
"He went to the World Cup and played bit parts all the time and probably didn't get a proper pre-season under his belt.
"So when he gets a bit fatigued he does tend to do a hamstring or something else, and that's what I was scared of.
"I probably left him on for 10 minutes longer than I was going to because when he got hold of the ball at least he would keep it.
"But he has been fantastic for us. He's a 15-to-20-goal-a-year man, and he has everything as a player. He's not just a goalscorer, but a fantastic footballer."