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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 09:55 GMT
Redknapp delight at Defoe capture
Jermain Defoe
Defoe failed to hold down a regular first team place at Spurs
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp believes new signing Jermain Defoe can re-ignite his career at Fratton Park.

Defoe, 25, joined from Spurs for an undisclosed fee despite the collapse of Benjani's move to Manchester City.

And Redknapp told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He needs confidence, needs to be believed in and needs to play regularly.

"He is a terrific finisher and has always scored goals. With a run and confidence he will show that he is a top, top goalscorer."

606: DEBATE
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The move was thought to have hinged on Benjani joining Manchester City, but went ahead even though City failed to seal that deal before the deadline.

Defoe had failed to hold down a regular first-team place at White Hart Lane and was told he was free to leave the club by manager Juande Ramos.

But he said: "There is no bitterness towards Spurs at all. I'm not like that. The manager has got his team and it's balanced. Sometimes in life you have to think about yourself and I wasn't playing football, which was really frustrating.

"But I had a great time at Spurs, the fans were great with me and I wish them all the best in the Carling Cup final against Chelsea."

And he explained Redknapp played a key role in luring him to Fratton Park. He said: "I was with Harry as a kid at West Ham. He's a great manager and as soon as I spoke to him on the phone I knew I wanted to play for this manager."

The partnership of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov had limited Defoe to mainly substitute appearances.

Defoe's contract was set to expire at the end of next season and Spurs were keen to avoid losing him on a free transfer.

A Spurs' statement explained: "The club reluctantly agreed the transfer of Jermain in light of there being less than 18 months left on his contract,"

The forward was left out of Fabio Capello's first England squad for the match against Switzerland on 5 February.

Redknapp, who managed Defoe at West Ham, had already bolstered his forward line with the loan signing of Lyon striker Milan Baros during the January transfer window.

He added: "I had him as a 15-year-old kid and he scored goals every single week and in every game he played in. Hopefully he will bring us goals."

Redknapp was puzzled at the collapse of Benjani's move, saying: "Our chief executive Peter Storrie was told the deal was done and then obviously after midnight we got a message saying the forms hadn't gone through for some reason.

"I think Peter's on the case with the Premier League to see where we go with it."

SEE ALSO
Transfer window winners & losers
01 Feb 08 |  Football
Confusion surrounds Benjani deal
01 Feb 08 |  Portsmouth
Defoe told he can leave Tottenham
08 Jan 08 |  Tottenham Hotspur


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