Redknapp: Van der Vaart key to success

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has revealed that midfielder Rafael van der Vaart is already a key part of his squad ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Twente.

The former Portsmouth boss admitted that the Dutch international was in need of a confidence boost upon his arrival in North London, but says the rest of the team will “base a lot of their game around him” as Spurs host their first ever Champions League tie at White Hart Lane.

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Van der Vaart signed from Real Madrid in a dramatic £8 million deal just minutes before the transfer window slammed shut earlier this month, and he is fast becoming one of Redknapp’s favorites.

“He looks like a top player, real class. He’s always on the move and always looking for the ball,” Redknapp told CNN. “He sees a pass, has a great left foot, he’s a real quality player.

“He was a bit-part player at Madrid, he wasn't in the team, he was on the bench or whatever in the end and his confidence was low.

“He's come here and we've made him feel very important, he's a key player in our team and we base a lot of our game around the way he plays and where we play him.”

Sebastian Bassong is the only recognised centre-half available for Tottenham on Wednesday, as Redknapp continues to try and achieve the balancing act of progressing in the Champions League, coupled with another top-four finish in the Premier League.

“It’s a difficult one, it’s that juggling act every game,” Redknapp said.

“You want to do well in both of them but Champions League we want to have a run. We’ve come this far and we've got in to the group stage from that scary knockout game with Young Boys in Bern. We managed to get through that one in the end.

“And now we'd like to get in to the next group if we can, that would be a good achievement for us first season.”

By Luke Nicholls

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