Assou-Ekotto: Redknapp is simple
The Spurs left-back underlined the importance of Redknapp’s famed man-management skills in an interview with Sky Sports News.
"He [Redknapp] knows every player is different, he does not try to make the team like an army,” the 26-year-old explained. “He is a simple manager and it is better like that.”
The Cameroon international has played 33 matches in a highly successful season for the White Hart Lane club, despite missing nearly two months of action due to a groin injury at the turn of the year.
Prior to Redknapp’s arrival in N17, Assou-Ekotto was merely a bit-part player at Spurs, with a persistent knee injury and the presence of South Korean defender Lee Young-Pyo seeing the former Lens man restricted to just 27 first team appearances in his first two seasons at the club.
Yet since the former Portsmouth and West Ham manager arrived, Assou-Ekotto has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance, even being named Spurs’ most improved player of the 2008/09 season.
Given this upturn in fortunes since the 63-year-old Londoner’s appointment, it is probably understandable that the French-born defender would be so quick to sing his manager’s praises.
"Everybody is happy with Harry Redknapp, he is very friendly, you can joke with him because he is a good manager,” Assou-Ekotto said.
“He is cool with you so we want to give the best for him and we don't want to make him sad.”
Assou-Ekotto’s praise for Redknapp is in stark contrast to the scathing criticism he dished out to former Spurs managers Martin Jol and Juande Ramos in an interview with the Guardian last week.
"With Jol, he had a hierarchy within the team, everybody didn't have the same starting point. He also said to me that I didn't smile a lot,” Assou-Ekotto explained, before saying of the Dutchman’s successor: “Ramos was always picking little fights. He told me that I was too aggressive in training. I said, 'We don't do tennis, we play football. You think that we are in Spain but we are in England, my friend’.”
In the same interview, Assou-Ekotto also caused a stir in some quarters by explaining that to him football was not a passion rather a job, and that he only opted to move to the Premier League for the money.
Yet with the World Cup and Champions League on the horizon in the coming months, he may well take more than a little satisfaction from his work.