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Harry Redknapp: Good, Young British Players a Thing of the Past

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30:  Harry Redknapp of Tottenham looks on at half time during the Barclays Premier League match between Birmingham City and Tottenham Hotspur at St. Andrews Stadium on January 30, 2010 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Willie GannonSenior Writer IMarch 13, 2010

The best English manager in the country and Tottenham Hotspur boss, Harry Redknapp, has delivered a damning verdict of football in Britain by saying good young British footballers are a thing of the past.

Speaking in a recent interview Redknapp stated that he feared for the future of the game in Britain and that direct foreign investment was having a negative influence on the progress of the game in the home nations as every team vies for quick fixes.

He said, "Good, young British footballers are a dying breed.

"We’re seeing more and more foreign players and foreign owners. Soon it will come to the point where every Premiership club has foreign players and owners.

"They come from a background where they are all winners but the only problem is that there can only be one winner.

"The standard of kids is not as strong as in the past as there are so many different things for them to do. In my day we only played football."

When asked on how he would improve the situation, Redknapp urged a redevelopment of the scouting system at home.

"We need to improve recruitment," he added.

"There’s not a massive amount of talent around in this country but it’s still out there. Nothing gives you more pleasure than seeing them come right through the youth policy. They have real feelings for the club."

Redknapp famously oversaw youth development at West Ham in the early '90s before he took over as manager of the club following Billy Bonds' resignation. During his time in the youth ranks 'Arry helped develop some of England's stars of the future as Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Jermaine Defoe, and Michael Carrick all graduated from the famed West Ham "Academy" to play first team football under Redknapp.

Another aspect that Redknapp feels should be improved is the technical side of the game. "It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got. We’ve all got one thing in common: we love football. Players today work hard, train hard and look after themselves like never before.

"But I’ve told our fitness coach that it doesn’t matter if they eat white bread because if you can’t pass the ball then you’ve got no chance."

Fourth place is very much the target to finish for Spurs this season, but Redknapp feels the club should be targeting their North London rivals, Arsenal, who he also feels the club should try to emulate too.

"We’re trying to turn it around but it’s not easy. They have an excellent youth set-up, a conveyor belt of young players coming through.

"The gap is closing. There’s not a million miles between the teams. I don’t think that there will be much of a gap at the end of the season.

"Arsenal can win the title. They are a very well run club and the manager has done a good job."

As for his recipe for success over his 25-year managerial career, Redknapp said: "If you’ve got good players and good character, you’ve got a chance.

"People respond more to being encouraged and told what they can do rather than what they can’t do."

"I’m sure my chairman Daniel Levy will tell me that I’m doing a good job one day," he added with a smile.

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