LONDON // Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, has urged the club's most promising young players to follow in the footsteps of the international players he groomed at West Ham United.
And the possible arrival of David Beckham, the former England captain, at White Hart Lane on a three-month loan deal will only serve to enhance their development.
One of the factors Redknapp has cited for potentially signing Beckham, 33, would be his influence on the young players, believing his professionalism and work ethic would rub off on the likes of John Bostock, Danny Rose and Jake Livermore.
Redknapp has loaned 12 young players to various clubs in the second tier of English football this season. Should the deal for Beckham go through, Redknapp could recall some of them and continue their development on the training ground under the tutelage of England's 115-cap midfielder.
"I have always felt it is far better for talented teenagers to go out on a longish loan spell to a club lower down the leagues where they come up against seasoned pros and have the opportunity to play lots of games rather than sit on the bench or play in games that might come too easy for them," he said.
During his seven-year spell in charge of West Ham, Redknapp launched the careers of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and Glenn Johnson, who have all gone on to develop into England internationals.
"When I am asked to justify why I think this way works then I just point back to that wonderfully gifted group of young players I had at West Ham in the mid-1990s," he said. Redknapp said it was clear those players had "special talents", but they got even better when they went out on loan.
"After just a few games playing down at Bournemouth, Manchester United wanted to sign Rio there and then because of how good he looked at the age of 17," he said.
"And I still vividly recall a night down at Swansea when young Frank Lampard was ankle-deep in mud but was still loving the chance to prove how good he was against the men. Look what Rio, Frank and the rest have gone on to achieve."
Midnight, Abu Dhabi Sports