x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Benjani a big fan of his old boss

Harry Redknapp has been hailed a miracle worker after reviving the fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur and Benjani is not at all surprised.

The Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has turned the club's ailing fortunes around.
The Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has turned the club's ailing fortunes around.

LONDON // Harry Redknapp has been hailed a miracle worker after reviving the fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur and Benjani is not at all surprised. The Manchester City striker is set to renew old acquaintancies today with the man who brought him to English football and coaxed the best out of him with fish and chips!

Benjani was the spearhead of Portsmouth's attack under Redknapp when he arrived from Auxerre in 2006. Despite going 14 games without a goal, the veteran manager kept faith and the Zimbabwe frontman became a key figure for Pompey before he was sold to City in January. Benjani is a big admirer of Redknapp's man-management skills and says that is the reason why life is probably smiles better at White Hart Lane.

"Harry knows how to get the best out of the players," he said. "He likes to make jokes with players so that's why they like him. He knows how to deal with players. "Sometimes when things were hard, he would come in and laugh with you, so it's good. He was good to me and I like him. "I used to live close to him in Sandbacks [in Poole] and he has a good friend there who serves fish and chips. "Harry would say 'if you want to be strong, come and have fish and chips for free and if you score you will have them for the rest of your life'. I understood his jokes and I know he's a good manager.

"I am not surprised he went to Spurs. He's capable of managing a big team. It's a big chance for him and I hope he will do well." Redknapp has made an instant impact at Spurs, gaining three wins and a draw since he replaced Juande Ramos. Despite this resurgence, which included a late win over Liverpool and a battling draw at Arsenal, they are still bottom of the Premier League and Benjani is out to upset his old boss if he gets a chance to follow up on his own goalscoring comeback.

The striker, 30, was on target with a deflected effort in City's 3-2 Uefa Cup group game win over Twente on Thursday. It was his first appearance of the season after a thigh injury and Benjani - whose first home goal was against Redknapp and Pompey back in April - is desperate to be in the starting line up again. He has been frustrated at watching City's attack, led by record signing Robinho, rack up the goals with the £19million (Dh109.5m) summer buy Jo taking the target man role.

"It's very boring to be out, especially when the team is winning," admitted Benjani, who believes he can add some sweat to City's style. "You love to be involved and now I am finally getting there. It's great to be back. I played 30 minutes [against Twente], but it felt like two hours. "It was a big lift to come on and score, I didn't expect it. I just wanted to build my fitness up, but hopefully I can get another goal on Sunday.

"Of course I'd like to be involved against Spurs. "I will work hard for the team and if you have good players around you, they make you good as well and make you work and fight hard to be in the team." Redknapp will be looking for Tottenham to build on their impressive 4-0 Uefa Cup success against Dinamo Zagreb. He is also set to strengthen his coaching set-up by bringing in Joe Jordan, who has left Portsmouth after four years.

akhan@thenational.ae