Van der Vaart: I signed before talking to Harry

Tottenham Hotspur maestro Rafael van der Vaart has told FourFourTwo that he did not actually speak to manager Harry Redknapp until after he had signed for the North London club.

Following an impressive debut season in England that saw the Dutchman find the net on 15 occasions in all competitions, Van der Vaart has been hailed as one of the signings of the season, after arriving from Real Madrid for only £8 million.

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Despite not meeting with Redknapp before officially becoming a Tottenham player, the former Ajax man took an instant shine to his new coach.

"I’d signed before I spoke with the manager [Harry Redknapp]," he says in the July issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out now. "I arrived at the training ground for my first session and met him and immediately liked him."

Despite finishing fifth in the Premier League, outside the Champions League places, Spurs’ first season in Europe’s elite competition drew plaudits from far and wide as they reached the quarter-final stage of the competition, before losing to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Van der Vaart feels that Redknapp’s approach has been integral to the side's impressive showings, particularly against both Inter and AC Milan.

"Harry is a warm person. You can talk with him, he’s always open, and he gives his players a lot of confidence. That is the main thing," he says.

"We have a good squad, full of good players but it’s still important that everybody feels right and Harry makes that happen."

Van der Vaart was also quick to pledge his future to the club, while also noting that Spurs are a bigger outfit than people may think, especially in his native Holland.

"I was very aware of Glenn Hoddle growing up, and actually in Holland, Spurs are a very popular club," he says.

"I’m not sure why. Maybe it goes back to Johnny Metgod!"

The full in-depth interview with Rafael van der Vaart can be found in the July issue of FourFourTwo – out now – in which the midfielder talks more about his move to White Hart Lane and his love of Romario. The issue also features an exclusive one-on-one with Nemanja Vidic and an in-depth report on how to save Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup. Subscribe now!

By Vithushan Ehantharajah