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Football Whispers
 By Dan Fitch

Redknapp return offers Poch chance

It's fair to say that Harry Redknapp polarises opinion. There are Spurs fans that love him and wish he were still in charge of the club, while others were only too pleased when Daniel Levy got rid of him. On Sunday, those fans will deliver their verdict on Redknapp's time at the club, when QPR visit White Hart Lane.

Much like the recently departed Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood, Redknapp's inability to stop talking ultimately had a bigger bearing on his position than the results on the pitch did. He would no doubt attribute his candidness to a desire to be honest, but self-interest always seemed a more likely motivation.

His reign at the club created many such talking points. Redknapp's Spurs team played some brilliant football, but he was very fortunate to have three world-class players in the shape of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart at his disposal -- none of whom were signed by him.

Redknapp's own transfer targets tended to be less imaginative. The players he signs tend to be ones that he's worked with before, or are well known within the Premier League, while his frame of reference for players outside these shores is small.

When Tottenham were linked with signing the then-Brazilian international Ganso in 2012, Redknapp claimed to have never heard of him. He also passed up the chance to sign Luis Suarez because he was told by his scouts -- reputedly Sherwood and Les Ferdinand -- that the Uruguayan could not play on his own up front. Such reliance on others' opinion was shocking. Suarez had just shone at the 2010 World Cup and his equally impressive performances for Ajax were being shown on UK television at the time.

Redknapp's players at Spurs were given freedom to express themselves, within a formation that was nearly always a version of that perennial favourite, 4-4-2. Yet while these methods undoubtedly gave his players a platform on which to shine, the team were sometimes exposed by the tactical naivety of their manager, with the side very often outnumbered in midfield areas in an era when 4-3-3 was king.

His time at Spurs came to an end after a season in which the team threatened to win the title, only to unravel in extraordinary circumstances, as Redknapp was acquitted of tax evasion and then touted as the next England manager. At the time I felt ambivalent; weary of Redknapp's tendency to hog a spotlight that should be aimed squarely at the team.

But what is my biggest wish for Tottenham under new manager Mauricio Pochettino? It's to see a return to playing attractive attacking football. Redknapp's successor Andre Villas-Boas may have made the side more solid and got the best out of Gareth Bale, yet you would be hard pressed to argue that the style of football was easier on the eye.

Some of the best game to watch as a Spurs fan came with Redknapp in charge. Back-to-back thrilling home wins over Arsenal and Chelsea propelled Tottenham to a first Champions League appearance, where they triumphed against both giants of Milan. These are the heights that the club yearns to return to.

When he leads his QPR team out at White Hart Lane on Sunday, Harry deserves a good reception. Whatever you think of him personally, he oversaw the best time to be a Spurs fan since the early 80s.

Redknapp may have been devoted to traditional formations at Tottenham but these days he's sporting a more fashionable 3-5-2 at QPR. Ever the delegator, he's even brought another ex-Spurs manager -- in the form of Glenn Hoddle -- into the fold to make the system work.

Ironically, considering Redknapp's tactical failings at Tottenham, it should result in a QPR side that have plenty of numbers in midfield. Where Spurs can get at them is on the flanks, with the QPR wing-backs likely to often be outnumbered two to one.

After a heroic substitute appearance in midweek against Limassol, Erik Lamela will surely be given another opportunity to start in the Premier League. The goalscorers in that 2-1 victory give Pochettino more of a selection dilemma: does the manager show faith in Roberto Soldado after his brilliant goal? And how long before Harry Kane gets a Premier League start after his impressive early contributions?

Tottenham may have won both games this season but they are clearly undergoing some teething troubles as the squad adapts to life under Pochettino. The Argentine's methodology could not be more different than Redknapp's. Hopefully Spurs' superior talents will have adapted sufficiently to make Harry's return to the Lane an unhappy one.


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