FUTURE BRIGHT FOR "FANTASTIC" RODGERS - REDKNAPP
Harry Redknapp has been astounded by Swansea's progress this season and has backed their boss Brendan Rodgers to manage at the highest level.
Rodgers guided Swansea to their first top-flight appearance since 1983 last summer after beating Nottingham Forest in the npower Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Many expected the Welsh team to be relegated immediately, but they have defied their critics by performing well all season and they are now just one point short of the traditional safety mark of 40 points with eight matches of the Barclays Premier League season remaining.
Despite having just three full years of management experience, Rodgers has gained high praise for his ability to get his players to achieve results whilst remaining committed to an attractive brand of football - something many more experienced coaches have failed to do over the years.
The 39-year-old, who worked as part of Jose Mourinho's backroom staff at Chelsea, is reportedly under consideration to take over at White Hart Lane should Redknapp depart for England this summer, and the current Spurs boss is a big fan of the Ulsterman.
"He's someone who has a fantastic future," Redknapp said.
"I don't know what his long-term plans are but certainly the job he has done at Swansea has just been amazing.
"I remember speaking to Frank Lampard a few years ago when he was at Chelsea and he was telling me how good he was then.
"I just think it has been fantastic that a team can come up and play the way they have played, pass the ball as they do."
Tottenham would have been expected to count on the two games against Swansea as bankers at the start of the season, but they could only draw at the Liberty Stadium in December and are by no means assured of victory when Rodgers' team visit White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The Swans have beaten Arsenal and Manchester City this season and Redknapp admits his team must be at their best if they are to gain another win that will take them one step closer to Champions League football this weekend.
"It's so difficult to play them. They are fearless," Redknapp said.
"They have caused everyone problems this year, from Manchester United, to Manchester City, ourselves, Arsenal, Chelsea.
"They don't care who they play against, they have given them big, big problems."
Tottenham will be under intense pressure to end their seven-week long wait for a league victory on Sunday, especially as they may start the day six points behind third-place Arsenal, who travel to strugglers QPR tomorrow.
Spurs may have struggled to pick up points in the league recently, but they performed well to draw at Chelsea last weekend and looked back to their best when they swatted Bolton aside on Tuesday night to set up an FA Cup semi-final against their west London rivals.
Redknapp is sure that Spurs' blip is over, but has warned his squad they must not lose their focus in their remaining games despite now having a five-point lead over Chelsea.
"Every game is important now," Redknapp added.
"We have a semi-final to look forward to, but we have also got important league games to come.
"We want Champions League football next year so we can't afford really to slip up anywhere.
"We have really got to go full tilt at every game. We can't afford to take our football off the pedal or rest people up for a semi-final.
"If we are fortunate enough to get to the final, we will be playing the Wednesday before and the Tuesday after so the games will come thick and fast now."
Redknapp has winger Aaron Lennon available for the first time in three weeks after he recovered from a hamstring strain.
(reopens) Meanwhile, Spurs announced this afternoon that they will take on Liverpool in a pre-season friendly in Baltimore on July 28.
The Londoners have already announced that they will play the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls as part of their summer tour of the United States.
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