Redknapp: JD can be unstoppable
Jermain Defoe has revealed how he made a last-minute change of boots before his goalscoring frenzy helped Tottenham Hotspur thrash Wigan Athletic 9-1 and return to the top four. Spurs' development coach Clive Allen, himself a prolific striker in his playing days, told the England striker to change his green boots, and the result was a five-goal haul at White Hart Lane.
It was Tottenham's biggest victory for 32 years, since they defeated Bristol Rovers, and their biggest in the Premier League. "I had a funny feeling before the game," said Defoe.
"I tried on a pair of green boots before the game, but Clive Allen said I couldn't wear them, so I changed them. They were pinkish silver ones in the end, and I go and score five."
Peter Crouch's early strike gave Harry Redknapp's men a half-time lead, with nothing at that stage suggesting Spurs would almost hit double figures. Robbie Keane, who was rested, told his team-mates in the dressing room they needed a second goal to kill Wigan off.
Defoe, when asked if they needed the ninth goal, joked: "Maybe a tenth." Aaron Lennon and Niko Kranjcar also netted, while David Bentley's free-kick went in off Chris Kirkland, who made a string of fine saves despite the scoreline.
Redknapp believes his player can finish top goalscorer in the Premier League, and cement himself in Fabio Capello's England squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. "I don't see why Defoe can't be the top scorer in the Premier League this season," he said.
"It's about time he scored 20 goals in a season. I don't know whether he's done it before, maybe with West Ham, but he should be able to do that. He's been so sharp in training. You could see this coming."
Defoe recently came back from a three-match suspension for violent conduct, after getting sent off against Portsmouth. Tottenham duly lost two of the games he missed.
"The England manager will have watched him and he can't react that way," Redknapp added about his striker, who joined Ted Harper, Alf Stokes and Les Allen as Tottenham players to have score five times in a match. "But he's come back strong. When he concentrates and plays his football, he can be unstoppable."
Learning experience for Latics
Redknapp suffered a 9-0 reverse in first match as a manager - Lincoln City beat Bournemouth on that occasion - and he did not celebrate in front of his Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez as the goals crashed in. The Spaniard is hoping his side are not psychologically scarred from the defeat.
"The damage of this won't be carried into the next game," said Martinez. "We have enough characters in the dressing room and we need to react in the right way. I've never been involved in a game like this.
"From the mental point of view, we'll get stronger from this. This is a very unique situation but we can use it in a positive way in terms of learning from these situations. We've never experienced this before.
"The biggest disappointment was how we started the first half, then the naivety that saw them scoring in the first ten minutes of the second half. It's about damage limitation after that in terms of going into next week, avoiding yellow cards that will be carried into next week."