Former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp says Robbie Keane didn’t succeed at Anfield because he didn’t get enough time on the pitch – and wasn’t going to hang about waiting for first-team football under Rafa Benitez. “The truth is, Robbie probably feels he could have done better,” said Redknapp, who spent a decade at Anfield. “He maybe didn’t get enough games or goals, and it maybe had something to do with the manager. “Every time a game reached the 70th minute mark Robbie would be looking over to the bench and his number would be coming up.” Of his 23 Liverpool starts, Keane only lasted the full 90 minutes on five occasions. However, Redknapp slammed speculation than Keane had been bought without the consent of Benitez.
“I don’t believe any of it,” said Redknapp, now a Sky Sports pundit and coach at Chelsea. “He was Rafa’s signing. Speculation that he wasn’t is just a rumour that was trying to circulate.” Redknapp proclaimed his admiration for Keane’s decision to leave Anfield and rejoin a relegation-haunted Tottenham side – managed by Redknapp’s father, Harry.
“He could have waited until the end of the season; he might have won the title, he might have won the Champions League. “But when you’re not playing a big part it doesn’t mean the same. I’ve got a lot of respect for Robbie for thinking, ‘Right I’m not playing, I’m not involved, I want to go and play first team football’. “That’s what he’s done. He literally had a couple of days to make a really big decision, and Tottenham have brought him back for £12million after selling him for £20 million, which doesn’t seem like bad business to me.” Although Keane failed to establish himself alongside Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard at Anfield, Redknapp has no doubt the Irishman can dovetail effectively with Jermain Defoe – whom Redknapp Senior also brought back to White Hart Lane during the January window. “They’re not going to be able to play together for weeks – at the moment Jermain has to get himself fit – but they’re both good players and they should be able to play together. “There’s competition for places with Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko, so it’s up to them to make it work. They played together at times under Martin Jol and Ramos. They’ve got to make it work – otherwise one of them won’t play.”
Jamie Redknapp was speaking at the HMV Football Extravaganza, which has so far raised more than £3.5 million for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.
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