Svensson failed to see Redknapp’s tactical skills

Swedish Euro Hopes Improve?

Swedish hopes of progressing through the group stages in Euro 2012 may have improved with the resignation of the England national coach Fabio Capello, but better news could be the appointment of Harry Redknapp as the English coach according to national vice-captain Anders Svensson.

Harry Redknapp is the media choice to lead England into Euro 2012 and group stage games against Sweden, France and Ukraine. Yet Svensson, who has 125 international caps and played under Redknapp during a playing spell at Southampton, claimed in an interview with Laul Calling Våren 2010 magazine, with quotes carried in Sportbladet, that the current Tottenham Hotspur manager lacks tactical awareness.

While Redkapp’s tactical acumen may have improved since Svensson left Southampton to join Elfsborg in 2005, the Swedish playmaker recalls: “Harry is a really nice guy but football skills? I did not see any tactical skills. Tactically, there’s not much“.

Redknapp’s biggest strength, according to Svensson, is that “he has an incredible sense of which players can work together” yet is this enough for international football where players cannot be bought to create a team? Kevin Keegan realised that while he was able to instil confidence in players and had great man-management skills, his weakness, which was considerably highlighted at international level, was that he was unable to match other nations tactically, something which he was ridiculed for in the English media and by English football fans.

Svensson highlights certain Southampton games where Redknapp changed tactics so that he could fit in certain players, despite the team being on a small winning run: “We decided to play 4-5-1, Peter Crouch alone on top, Mikael Nilsson and I on the wings. We beat Liverpool 2-0 and Portsmouth 2-1 in the derby, two straight wins. We had a winning team but what happened in the next game? Micke Nilsson ended up in the stand and I was on the bench; there were three or four changes in total and we lost.”

“Afterwards, I received calls from journalists who wondered why Redknapp had changed four players and I replied “I do not know, I’ll have to ask him about it.” The day after the headline was ‘I do not know why Redknapp changed four players’. On the Monday, I was called into the office and had to explain myself. We had a good talk and I told Harry that I did not understand why he changed the team just when we had started winning games. Then I did not play many more minutes for Southampton.”

Svensson is “surprised that he [Redknapp] is so highly regarded in light of his tactical skills” and if, as expected, Redknapp leads England into Euro 2012, Swedish national coach Erik Hamrén could find himself in a one-sided tactical fight when the two teams meet in Kiev.

Andy Hudson

2 Responses to “Svensson failed to see Redknapp’s tactical skills”
  1. Redknapp strikes me as a bit of a wheeler-dealer, a motivator perhaps, but not as a tactical genius a-la Ancelotti, Mourinho, Capello, Hiddink or… Brendan Rodgers.

    Just look at the amounts he spent while at Portsmouth and Tottenham. I dare to say that he bought about 80% of success.

    Will he prove to be a tactician enough to shut me (and England supporters) up? Can’t say. Perhaps motivating the (good) England players will be enough.

    What I can see is that media in England already sees him as a savior…

    Pardon me, but I’ll be supporting Sverige 🙂

    • Andy Hudson says:

      As Svensson tells Sportbladet, Redknapp has the ability to put players together but there’s a smaller selection pool at international level than at a club.

      Regardless of who is selected to lead England into their opening game of Euro 2012, I think the other nations in Group D will be rather happier at this moment in time.

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