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Redknapp hails "fantastic" Van der Vaart
Published : 27 Dec 2010 10:30:05
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp cashed in with a superb victory over Aston Villa after admitting to gambling on the fitness of two-goal hero Rafael van der Vaart.Van der Vaart had missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury but returned with devastating effect to score a brace in a 2-1 victory at Villa that lifts Spurs up to fifth in the Barclays Premier League.The Dutch midfielder grabbed the opener in the 23rd minute before being asked to play as a lone frontman following the dismissal of Jermain Defoe four minutes later for an elbow in the face of Villa captain James Collins.It was a role he played to perfection, rounding off his performance with a contender for goal of the season in the 67th minute as he started and finished a clinical breakaway move.Redknapp, though, had considered hauling off Van der Vaart before his 10th goal of the season due to fears over collecting another injury."I took a gamble with him because he has had a hamstring problem and when he gets tired he tends to get injuries," said Redknapp. "That's what I was scared of. I probably left him on for 10 minutes longer than I was going to because when he got hold of the ball at least he would keep it. But he has been fantastic for us. He's a 15- to 20-goal-a-year man, and he has everything as a player. He's not just a goalscorer, but a fantastic footballer."