Pompey boss Redknapp fuming after star striker Defoe is ruled out of Spurs return


Last updated at 23:18 20 March 2008

Harry Redknapp was furious last night to discover that he cannot play Jermain Defoe against his old club Spurs on Saturday.

The in-form striker, who earlier in the day had been recalled by new England manager Fabio Capello for next week's friendly against France, has been ruled out of the match at White Hart Lane because of a technicality.


In his pomp: Jermain Defoe darts in to equalise

And Redknapp says he has no way of appealing against a Premier League rule that he described as "a load of nonsense".

Defoe has scored six goals in his last six games but will miss out because his 11th-hour move from Spurs to Portsmouth was initially struck as a loan deal. There was insufficient time to complete the paperwork of the £7.5million permanent move before the January transfer window closed.

Last year Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was not selected to play against Manchester United after his initial move to Goodison had been a loan arrangement.

A Premier League spokesman said: 'The League brought in new rules to clamp down on unwritten agreements of the sort that led to Everton not selecting Howard for the 4-2 defeat against Manchester United last season.

"It decreed that when players go on loan to another club and then sign a permanent deal, they cannot play against their original club for the rest of that season."

But Redknapp insists Defoe's plight stems from different circumstances.

"It's a load of nonsense, some silly ruling that someone has brought in and we can't do anything about it."

To get Defoe on to Portsmouth's books Redknapp first had to sell Benjani to Manchester City. But that transfer was only completed in the final hour before the transfer window closed.

"The Benjani deal was dragging on and completed 15 minutes before the window closed so we had to take Jermain on a loan deal to start with," said Redknapp. "Spurs were happy with that and the transfer was completed soon after."

Defoe says he is "gutted" to be missing out against his former club, especially as the fans would have greeted him warmly on his return.

He said: "I've bumped into a few Spurs fans and they said: 'We were really looking forward to you coming back, you're going to get a great reception'."

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now