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Harry bemoans starlets' easy life
Published : 11 Apr 2009 08:00:00
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp believes young players are getting it too easy - but there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. Redknapp oversaw the development of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick at West Ham but their apprenticeships were some of the last where cleaning boots was part of the job. Teenagers now are tied to long professional contracts before they are old enough for the reserves, and looking after the footwear of a first-team player is gradually becoming a thing of the past. "I'd have them doing it now but you'd be up before the Human Rights people," Redknapp said. "Gazza (Paul Gascoigne) would have done it, David Beckham did it - he cleaned Neil Webb's. It's not a hardship to do it after training. "It's just a bit of banter and you get a £50 tip at Christmas from the first-team player. It's all part of the banter at the training ground. "Top pros would always keep the kids in their place until they developed and were good enough to come up and join them. That was the goal to aim for - not to walk in at 17 and get a car as good as the guys who are in the first team." Redknapp this weekend faces his former club West Ham, who recently were described as having a "Baby Bentley" culture. Current boss Gianfranco Zola appears to have got rid of that element at the club, and he recently added to the debate by agreeing that youngsters have it easy. Redknapp asks one of his youth-team players to help the kit man on a matchday. "On a match day, one of the kids helps the kit man, which is good," he said. "It doesn't do anyone any harm. At West Ham, when I was a kid, we used to paint the ground every summer - we didn't get a holiday. "We painted the barriers claret and blue and in the season we cleaned the boots as well as practising morning and afternoon. "I'm not saying it makes them a better player - they're here to play football first and foremost. But it's about growing up as well as being a player. "Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Jimmy Greaves, Dave Mackay - all of them would have done it. Stevie Gerrard would have done it, Rio and Frank as well."