HARRY REDKNAPP feels he was right to allow Robbie Keane to join Celtic on loan – but maintains the Republic of Ireland striker still has a future at Tottenham.
Redknapp brought Keane back to White Hart Lane from Liverpool during February 2009, but accepts the striker had recently fallen behind Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch in the pecking order.
With former Chelsea frontman Eidur Gudjohnsen arriving on loan and Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko now back in the first-team picture, Redknapp believes the move was best for all concerned.
“It was difficult for him not playing regularly, and he is not happy to have been out of team,” said the Spurs boss.
“Crouch and Defoe are in good form, and it can cause you problems when you have too many good players in one position.’’
“I could not guarantee Robbie that he would start in the cup at Leeds (in the FA Cup replay) tonight, or against Villa at the weekend – and he needs to play. He has a great enthusiasm for the game, Celtic is his team and it was a move for him I didn’t want to stop him doing.”
Redknapp, though, maintained: “I cannot see it being permanent. It is only a loan, until the end of the season. I would think that might be as far as it goes.”
Henrik Larsson has backed Keane to be a huge hit at Celtic, but believes the former Liverpool man will need the full support of his team-mates to overhaul Rangers at the top of the SPL.
He said: “It’s a lot of work and it’s not only up to Robbie – it’s the whole team that has to do it. I know they will never give up as long as there are the points to play for, that’s what it takes to play for Celtic.
“You give it your all and then see at the end of the season if you manage or not. There are always high expectations on you there, you’ve got to win the league and that’s every year.
“You have to be able to live with the pressure.
“It’s fantastic news for Celtic to get a striker of his quality. From what I understand, he is a great fan of Celtic as well and that’s very important.
“He will know how important it is for the fans to play well.”
Keane has so far refused to comment on whether he might stay beyond the end of the season, when his loan expires. But Larsson believes the man who will now wear the famous number seven shirt he once wore will relish life as part of the Old Firm.
“It’s not for me to recommend whether he stays on or not,’’ Larsson said.
“If he does well – which I’m absolutely sure that he will – then there are not a lot of pleasures that are better than being up there.”
Celtic’s swoop for Keane may be the talk of Scottish football but David Weir claims the dramatic deadline-day signing has barely been mentioned within the Rangers dressing room.
“There hasn’t been any chat about it to be honest,” said Weir.
“It’s great for the league to have a player of that calibre coming to play up here but, with regards to Rangers, I don’t think it’s really going to affect what we do.”
Redknapp, meanwhile, admits Spurs will be somewhat down to the bare bones for their FA Cup 3rd round replay at Elland Road tonight.
“We will probably have three kids on the bench tomorrow, because we have left ourselves short of players,” he said.
“Ledley King is not fit, but could be available for the weekend. Pavlyuchenko has a problem with his groin, it is not 100%. He may have another scan today.”
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