Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is ready to give Giovani dos Santos a chance to shine after holding a meeting with the youngster’s parents when he lost his way last season.
Giovani is set to feature in the Carling Cup third-round clash at Preston but his future at Spurs looked bleak last season when he was pictured looking the worse for wear at a Christmas party and was late for training sessions.
Redknapp met with the 20-year-old’s parents – his father is a former professional footballer known as Zizinho – and has seen an improvement in the Mexico international.
“He has had a great season with Mexico so this is a big test for him,” Redknapp said.
“The penny has dropped, about applying himself and adapting himself.
“His dad was a top player, I’ve spoken to his mum and dad, they came to see me. He’s a smashing kid but found it hard to get into training on time.
“He has realised he can’t do that here, he has toed the line and got fitter and that’s the key. He let himself down last year, he wasn’t in good shape, he didn’t look after himself.
“Now he’s fitter, leaner and has great ability. He’s only a kid and if he develops, he can be a top player.”
David Bentley will also be given a chance at Deepdale after falling behind Aaron Lennon in the pecking order.
“It’s not easy for him I suppose, he doesn’t see a lot of light at the end of the tunnel, he sees Lennon playing well,” Redknapp said.
“All he can do is perform when he’s in the team, work hard and show a good attitude and then his chance will come.”
Redknapp wants his players to show the same passion as Gary Neville displayed during his controversial celebration during the Manchester derby.
United captain Neville raced towards City fans when Michael Owen grabbed a last-gasp winner at Old Trafford and while some have seen the incident as inflammatory, Redknapp admired the passion of the veteran.
“You look at Gary Neville, a man who has won everything there is to win - championship after championship after championship,” Redknapp said.
“The excitement he showed at his team winning and he was only a sub.
“He wasn’t sitting on the bench with his arms folded. He was jumping higher than Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson) when they scored and that’s why they are where they are. That is why they succeed.”
Redknapp had the same spirit at Portsmouth when they were promoted from the Championship and he feels Spurs are on the right track, even if the manager has questioned it at times.
The trip to Preston could be a test of who genuinely cares.
“I remember losing at Bolton last season, getting beaten and looking at the bench,” Redknapp said.
“I think two of them were asleep with hats pulled down and blankets over them.
“I said ’I’m sorry to drag you up here, I know it’s cold and you could be home with the missus with a cup of tea. It’s hard for 30 grand a week to watch a game’.”