Spurs suffer from FA's Redknapp reluctance

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Tottenham have conceded eight goals in their last two games, with yesterday's disappointing 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Manchester United ending the club's slim Premier League title hopes this year.

A distinct slump in form has only added to their misery following Spurs' humiliating 5-2 derby defeat against north London rivals Arsenal last weekend, leaving Harry Redknapp and his players looking precariously over their shoulders while occupying third place in the table.

There are four main reasons behind Tottenham's under-par performances of late, the first of which comes down quite simply to poor defending, with Ledley King particularly culpable over the past two games.

Secondly, a change in formation to a flat 4-4-2 has pushed creative influence Luka Modric into an unfamiliar left-midfield position - an area he has had little influence - while the omission of key personnel, most recently Gareth Bale (illness), and Scott Parker (suspension), providing a reality check that the depth of Tottenham's squad is far inferior to the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United.

But, the most alarming cause for concern, and possibly the number one reason why Spurs have looked a shadow of their former selves, is the ongoing distraction created by the England job.

Fabio Capello's resignation served up the hope that the biggest calling in the land would fall to the highest placed English coach in the Premier League game.

After an eventful month which first saw Redknapp acquitted for alleged tax evasion at Southwark Crown Court, ended on a multiple high when the 65-year-old stepped into a future of infinite promise as the FA began its search for Capello's successor. The nation's favourite, and overwhelming first-choice, still waits tentatively by the phone.

Nobody can blame Redknapp for having one eye on the international set-up, even if he reject claims that he does so. But while the FA try to avoid destabilising Spurs' season, the delay of a formal approach the entire country is anticipating, is not exactly benefiting anyone at the club.

Tottenham players go to work knowing their manager may leave in May, and Redknapp wakes each morning knowing he has an inevitable choice to make between his club, and his country.

If Spurs' season peters out with a whimper, then Redknapp's thinking (if his mind hasn't been made up already) is bound to be affected. He may start to feel he has taken the team as far as he possibly can without further investment.

Luckily for Tottenham, form is temporary, whilst class is permanent - and within the club's White Hart Lane ranks, Redknapp possesses some genuine world-class talent. Providing the club can match his, and the players' ambition, by committing their long-term futures, they stand a realistic chance of keeping their manager in north London.

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