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By ESPN Staff

Redknapp jumps to Defoe's defence in police row

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has backed Jermain Defoe in his driving row with the police and has questioned the motives behind pulling over the England striker.

Defoe was stopped three days after announcing he plans to sue Essex Police for wrongful arrest, with the 26-year-old's solicitor suggesting there were "serious questions to answer''.

Earlier in the summer Defoe was detained on suspicion of driving while disqualified but the ban was actually suspended pending appeal.

Redknapp said: "Why shouldn't any young boy, white or black, have a nice car? Good luck to them.

"The kid is driving a big car, why shouldn't he drive a big car? A black kid driving, so what? You wonder why he keeps getting stopped, what is the game? What has he done wrong? Nothing, has he?

"I don't know why they keep stopping him. Anyone can own a big car in this world if you work for it. You don't need to wear a shirt and tie and work in an office, or work in the city to have a nice car.''

Defoe has not been distracted by the row and has scored five goals in three appearances for club and country in the first stage of the season.

Redknapp believes his striker feels targeted off the pitch, adding: "I think he probably does (feel victimised). He drives a nice car. He is a young kid, and they think 'where has he got that nice car from?' He works for it.''

Defoe's hat-trick at Hull on Wednesday fired Spurs to the top of the Barclays Premier League - and next is a trip on Sunday to his former club West Ham.

Hammers fans are likely to jeer Defoe after he requested a transfer following relegation in 2003 but Redknapp has tipped his striker to rise to the occasion.

"The form he is in at the moment, he looks electric,'' said Redknapp.

The Spurs boss puts Defoe's form down to beefing up when he was injured last season and over the summer.

"He looks physically stronger now, he looks like a middleweight boxer and is a little powerhouse,'' Redknapp said. "I noticed it in China in pre-season as people could not shift him off the ball, he was holding people off. He has worked in the gym.''

Defoe has also been driven by the competition at White Hart Lane, with Robbie Keane, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko also competing for a place.

"The competition is doing him well, he looks here and see Crouchy coming in and then Robbie and he thinks 'hang on, we are in trouble here','' Redknapp added.

"Crouch has been unlucky as he has only half a game pre-season an that is why he has not started. The other two got the nod and make it difficult to change the team.''

All four strikers have ambitions of playing at the World Cup in South Africa next year.

Defoe was on standby for the last tournament and only returned home a day before England's opener, with Sven-Goran Eriksson famously taking Theo Walcott instead.

"It proved to me a mistake as we had injuries, so we were short of a striker,'' Redknapp said.


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