Birmingham City manager Harry Redknapp has said that England midfielders Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard need to concentrate on helping Jordan Henderson trying to contain Croatia midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
Redknapp coached Modric for four years at Tottenham and said that Modric and Rakitic will most likely dictate play in Wednesday’s semi-final in Moscow.
“They’re going to control the game,” Redknapp said at the launch of AIB’s Toughest Rivalry series which will chronicle both Redknapp and Gianluca Vialli’s journeys as the two powerhouses will take charge of two rival GAA clubs.
“We’re not set up really unless we change. Lingard and Delle Alli are not going to be players that are defensive-minded to worry about. They’re going to have to get around Rakitic and Modric when we haven’t got the ball — they’re going to have to do that side of it.
“Henderson can’t just do it on his own in there. He’s going to need [help]. That’s going to be important, so when we have the ball. They’re defensive qualities wouldn’t be so great either. We can cause them problems. Dele Alli I think is an amazing talent.
“He hasn’t shown his best form in the World Cup so far, but I think he’s an amazing player. I know he scored last game, but there’s a big game waiting for him, it could be tonight.”
Redknapp also said that he’s delighted for England manager Gareth Southgate but that the Croatia game will be his biggest test yet as a manager.
“It’s difficult to say what’s different. Sam Allardyce had the job, then something happens, and Sam loses it. We hadn’t lost a qualifying game up until then anyway.
“Gareth’s done a great job and we’ve beat what we’ve had to play. It’s always a happy camp when you’re winning, he couldn’t have done anymore than what he’s done and he’s a great guy.
“I’m probably more pleased with him because he’s a really nice fella. He’s got the best out of the group so far, but we haven’t had massive tests of yet. Tonight will be a bigger test than we’ve had so far.”
*Harry Redknapp, pictured today at the launch of AIB’s new series, The Toughest Rivalry. The series, airing exclusively across AIB’s social channels, stars both Redknapp and former Italian footballer and Premier League manager Gianluca Vialli.
AIB’s Toughest Rivalry series will chronicle both Redknapp and Vialli’s journeys as the two powerhouses will take charge of two rival GAA clubs. Vialli with Erin’s Isle in Dublin, and Redknapp with Castlehaven in West Cork. The two teams faced off in an infamous 1998 AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Semi-Final, where Castlehaven were defeated by a last-minute questionable goal. The controversial ending left both teams with unfinished business.
The first episode of The Toughest Rivalry will air on Friday, July 13th and every Friday, exclusively on AIB’s social channels.
For exclusive content and behind the scenes action from The Toughest Rivalry follow us @AIB_GAA on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and AIB.ie/GAA.