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Tottenham V Stevenage at White Hart Lane : Match Preview
Published : 06 Mar 2012 18:31:25
Redknapp sees England potential in Livermore
Harry Redknapp is convinced that Tottenham's rising star Jake Livermore has all the makings of an England international of the future.
Injuries to Sandro and Tom Huddlestone at the start of the season meant Livermore was thrust in to first-team action ahead of schedule and the 22-year-old has not looked back since.
Livermore's only previous experience of senior football at Spurs came in the form of a one-minute cameo against Stoke in 2010 and a Carling Cup start against Arsenal, but he has made 29 appearances this season - 17 of which have been starts.
Spurs boss Redknapp has talked regularly over the last few years about how disappointed he is that so few of the club's academy products have gone on to become first team regulars and star at international level.
Ledley King is the only player who has fulfilled that ambition in recent years, but Redknapp is sure that Livermore can follow in the Spurs captain's footsteps if he continues to progress at his current rate.
"He (Livermore) could be (an England international)," the Spurs boss said.
"The sky is the limit for Jake. His attitude is so good. He wants to get to the top and when you have that type of attitude there is no reason why he can't do it.
"He has the ability as well so he has a good chance." Livermore showed maturity beyond his years to command Tottenham's midfield against a Manchester United team that contained experienced Barclays Premier League campaigners Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick on Sunday.
The Enfield-born midfielder was shipped out on loan no fewer than five times before moving up to the first team, and Redknapp admits his predecessors thought Livermore was a lost cause.
"When I cam here people weren't sure that he was ever going to make it," Redknapp said.
"He had his injuries. Some people were tending to write him off, but when I came here but from day one I just found him to be a fantastic boy.
"He did ever so well the other day in there with Sandro against Manchester United. I was pleased with those two. They were so good."
Livermore is likely to keep his place in the Spurs line-up for the FA Cup fifth round replay against Stevenage at White Hart Lane.
Despite having crucial league games against Everton, Stoke and Chelsea coming up, Redknapp will resist the temptation to make wholesale changes to his line-up even though Stevenage sit 48 places below them in the league ladder.
Gareth Bale looks set to start after missing the United game through illness and Scott Parker is also available after completing a one-match suspension.
William Gallas could also make an appearance after missing the last two months with a calf strain.
Stevenage manager Gary Smith believes his side are capable of causing one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history by beating Spurs.
Boro were a non-league club this time two years ago but have won successive promotions from the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Smith believes that shows the squad he inherited from Graham Westley in January has the necessary strength of character to record a famous victory.
"Nobody will give us a chance of getting a result," former Arsenal scout Smith said.
"We are away from home. Nobody expects us to get anything out of the game and the bookmakers will have us well and truly odds against for getting any sort of result.
"But this group of players differs from others. There will be a hell of a lot of belief that one, they can hold this Tottenham side at bay, and two, they can somehow scramble a result.
"Whether it be in 90 minutes, extra-time or penalties, they will be there until their last breath trying to get as much out of the game as they can.
"So it may be worth a pound or two if you fancy a flutter for us to get something out of the game. We are going there with all the right credentials to make it a tough test for Spurs.
"And if they can do it, I think it will be one of the biggest shocks ever. There is no doubt about that."
Chris Beardsley is a doubt for the clash. Boro's leading scorer missed the 1-1 draw at Exeter over the weekend after suffering a hamstring injury against Charlton on February 25.
Should the striker fail to recover in time, Blackburn loanee Jordan Slew is likely to continue to lead the line alongside Craig Reid after making his debut against the Grecians.
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