Redknapp: Yoga is our flexible friend
Fighting for domestic and European honours can prove a stretch for today's modern Premier League squads but Harry Redknapp thinks he has found the answer to long-term fitness, in yoga.
Tottenham have employed the same yoga guru that veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel has used for the past nine years and Redknapp admitted even he and his coaching staff have had a go.
With the club juggling Premier League and Europa League commitments Redknapp believes yoga and pilates can prevent long-term injuries creeping into his squad, which is why they have a class before each training session.
''It's fantastic. We have been getting into doing the yoga and I think pilates is just an amazing thing,'' the veteran boss said.
''It's great for the players. They are all doing it now. Brad Friedel started it here. He brought a lady in to start doing the yoga and if it's good enough for Brad with the shape he's in at 40, then it's good enough for the rest of us.
''It's brilliant. It makes the players more supple. Ryan Giggs is in to it, big time. It certainly has kept him in good shape. I joined in last week with all the coaches. I couldn't walk for two days but other than that it was good.''
The Spurs squad have taken well to the classes, according to young full-back Danny Rose, who credits the classes with helping him recover from thigh and ankle injuries. ''It's a lot of fun,'' he said. ''We have these yoga gurus coming in once a week. It's all right. I'd take yoga and pilates over running up and down hills any day.''
Despite his good intentions with the yoga, Redknapp is, ironically, facing a major injury crisis in defence ahead of Thursday's Europa League Group A clash against Russian side Rubin Kazan.
Sebastien Bassong and Younes Kaboul are Spurs' only two fit centre-halves after Ledley King joined Michael Dawson, William Gallas and Vedran Corluka on the club's injury list after going off with a groin tear in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle.
''Central defence is a big problem for us,'' Redknapp said. ''We are really down to two central defenders. The problem is that we have no one who will be back fit at the weekend so if one of them gets a knock on Thursday, we will be bang in trouble for Sunday's game against Blackburn.''
Although the scenario is not ideal ahead of two games in four days, Redknapp would have been in even more trouble had King's injury been as bad as first feared. ''Ledley has had a scan. He has a slight tear in his abductor. It's not too bad,'' Redknapp said. ''It's only a grade one tear, which is not so bad, so it shouldn't be too long.''
Redknapp is likely to rest the majority of the team that drew against Newcastle, with Rose, Andros Townsend, Tom Carroll, Giovani dos Santos and Roman Pavlyuchenko likely to get be drafted in while the likes of Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Scott Parker are rested ahead of this weekend's trip to Ewood Park.
For Rose, the Europa League campaign gives him a chance to push his claim for a place in Redknapp's first-choice starting XI after a frustrating 18 months which began with him scoring a 30-yard screamer on his full debut against Arsenal, but has since been plagued by injuries.
Rose remembers the strike fondly, but now wants to move on and prove that he can play well on a regular basis. ''I still get fans coming up to me now talking about my goal against Arsenal. It's great they remember it,'' Rose said.
''It was probably the pinnacle point of my career to date, but it was 18 months ago and I have to look to the future now.''