Redknapp ready to take on Socceroos

Harry Redknapp has never coached at international level, but the charismatic cockney is convinced he will play his part in derailing Australia’s bid to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


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An inspirational figure with a sharp eye for talent during a career highlighted by 11 years split between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, the 69 year old – who came within a hair’s breadth of landing the England job in 2013 – will become an instant national hero in Jordan if he can help them leapfrog Australia on the road to Russia.


At the personal invitation of friend Prince Ali - the defeated FIFA presidential candidate who heads the Jordanian federation - Redknapp jets out to Amman on Sunday to begin preparing for the vital AFC Group B qualifiers against Bangladesh (24 March) and the Socceroos in Sydney five days later.

Having agreed to a two-game stint, Redknapp reckons his inside-knowledge of the Australian mentality will help him concoct an effective battle plan to counter Ange Posteocolglou’s heavy home town favourites.

The eight group winners automatically advance to the next qualifying round in Asia, along with the four best group runners up.

During his six years at the helm of the Hammers, Redknapp worked with five Australian internationals - Stan Lazardiis, Chris Coyne, Robbie Slater, Hayden Foxe and Richard Garcia.

He tried in vain to sign Mark Viduka from Newcastle United in 2007 when he was boss at Portsmouth.

And Redknapp was at White Hart Lane when Spurs signed current Socceroos midfielder and AFC Asian Cup man of the tournament Massimo Luongo back in 2011 – handing him his debut in a League Cup tie against Stoke City later that year.

“The mentality of Australian players is all about huge work ethic, determination and the willingness to never give up, no matter what odds,” said Redknapp, who has also taken over as promotion-chasing Championship side Derby County's director of football until the end of the season.

“They are also a lot better technically than maybe they generally get credit for and the boys I had during my time at West Ham were all good players.

"Of course, times change I think I have a good understanding of what sort of team we’ll be up against this month.

”Obviously, I know all about Massimo Luongo and what he’s achieved over the past year or with his country and also getting his move to my former club Queens Park Rangers, and doing well there.”

Late last year Redknapp said he thought Luongo was good enough to play for Arsenal, and he stands by that.

“Yes, they’re the sort of team where he’d fit in and do well,” added Redknapp, who led Spurs to the UEFA Champions League in 2010 and quit his last coaching role at QPR in 2015.

“They’re a passing team and that suits him well. If the ball’s up in the air then you’re wasting somebody like Massimo, who is very technical type of player

“The Australian team of today has some excellent players; there are a few of the boys in the Bundesliga (Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse and Mitch Langerak), obviously the keeper (Mat Ryan) is at Valencia and there are a couple in the Championship also (Bailey Wright and Luongo).

"Mike Jedinak is an accomplished Premier League pro at Crystal Palace,and he is a great leader of his club and country. So there's no shortage of quality and experience there.”

The interim coach has scant time to prepare Jordan, who sit in second spot in Group B two points adrift of the Socceroos.

With Australia expected to cruise past Tajikistan in Adelaide and Jordan likely to bury winless Bangladesh, it will all come down to the decider at ANZ Stadium, with Redknapp looking to engineer a repeat of October's 2-0 win in Amman.

“I’m getting started early next week and I will be working with a group of players who have already beaten Australia, so in no way would I expect them to be overawed,” he added.

“I know there’s some talent in the team to work with and they are going try and produce something special against Australia. There’s still a lot to play for in this group.

“It's going to be a big stage and you'd hope that will bring out the best in them. I’ll be working hard to make sure that happens, just like Ange Postecoglou will be doing the same to make sure it doesn't.

"He's already shown himself to be a winner at international level and people will be expecting Australia not to slip up.

“Of course it will be hard for us … Australia are the Asian champions and that’s not an easy tournament to win. But this country is fighting to stay alive in the World Cup and that motivation can go a long way.”

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5 min read
Published 18 March 2016 at 2:42pm
By David Lewis