x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Tottenham Hotspur have paid the price for national saga

As FA hold talks with Hodgson, the London club have suffered since Harry Redknapp was presumed to become the England manager.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp. Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp. Getty Images

Harry Redknapp has every right to be privately disappointed by the English Football Association's decision to seemingly look past him in their quest to fill the national team hot seat, yet it is his club, Tottenham Hotspur, who must rue the way the whole episode has been handled.

It is undeniable the situation regarding the national team vacancy - Roy Hodgson, the West Bromwich Albion head coach, was on Sunday invited to be interviewed for the job - has played a part in the north London club's recent decline in results.

Since Fabio Capello voluntarily walked the Wembley plank on February 8, Spurs - who, remember, had taken 53 points from a possible 75 and sat 10 points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal - have managed only three wins from 11 Premier League games and slipped as low as sixth in the table before their 2-0 win against a lamentable Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.

Redknapp's willingness to discuss the England position publicly, before the FA had played their hand, will hardly have inspired motivation in his players.

Questions are unavoidable for a top-flight coach, but silence would have sufficed.

Gareth Bale, seen as the fulcrum of a club building for the future, has intimated the future is no longer so well-defined and he will consider his options amid rumours of interest from the sun-kissed plains of Barcelona and Madrid.

Likewise, the mercurial Luka Modric, with whom the 65 year old enjoys a close relationship, might have already had one eye on pastures new, but with Redknapp himself posturing for a move, the crick in the Croatian's neck will have twisted ever-further away from White Hart Lane.

Subject of two failed bids by Chelsea last summer, he could have been preparing for a Uefa Champions League final later this month rather than three must-win matches against Bolton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Fulham.

How Bale and Modric perform in Tottenham's run-in, starting tomorrow at the Reebok Stadium, will prove critical, but it is the man on the sidelines who will once more hold primary focus.

With the England job appearing out of the question, the question has now changed: can Redknapp refocus, extract the best from his players and save Spurs' season, or will summer bring with it an unavoidable overhaul of personnel?

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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