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Harry Redknapp answers the question on everyone’s lips: Is football really coming home?


Harry Redknapp is backing England to beat Italy in the final of Euro 2020 (Picture: Rex)

Where are you watching the big game on Sunday, then?

I’ll be at home. My wife Sandra will no doubt be in the other room watching the soaps, I’ll be sitting down with a nice cup of tea and watching the game. I like to watch it on my own, really, I’m not one for being surrounded by too many people, especially if they’ve got silly opinions on the game and they don’t know what they’re talking about! I find that quite annoying. That’s why I never sat in the directors’ box when I was managing — I’d have lost my head in five minutes.

Is football coming home?

It’s got every chance. I fancied us at the start of the tournament to win it — and nothing has happened to change my mind. We’ve done well. We didn’t start off particularly great — the Scotland game drew a bit of criticism – but what we’ve done since is be hard to beat. There’ll be nervy moments, I’m sure, but I think we can win it.

What do you expect from Italy?

Jorginho has been one of the stars of the tournament for Italy (Picture: Getty)

When a team goes as many games unbeaten as they have then they must be dangerous opposition. They’re a good counter-attacking team who are strong defensively with Bonucci and Chiellini, two old-fashioned centre-backs well into their thirties, but who know how to win football matches and get over the line.

You’ll have seen Gareth Southgate come up in the game. How good a job has he done?

He was a good player throughout his career — but it’s like everything, isn’t it? Sam [Allardyce] took the job and was unfortunate to lose it, I thought, and Gareth was doing the Under-21s at the time, took the job on and is doing a fantastic job. The most important thing, however, when you’re managing, is to have good players — and he’s got some good players.

You’ll be back in the dugout soon for Soccer Aid 2021 managing the World XI for the fourth time. Surely they could let you manage England this time?

It’s funny, I was hoping I might get England this year — but we’ve won the past two years and England look to me like they’re going to be very strong this year and want to make sure they beat us. Both sides will be stronger and we’ll have good players and great celebrities and it’ll just be great fun.

Wayne Rooney joins the England ranks this year. That doesn’t seem fair — he’s only just retired!

Wayne Rooney and his family have been cheering on England at the Euros (Picture: Getty)

I know! Wayne could still play in the Premier League. I watched him play for Derby and he was different class. Gary Neville is playing for England too. He’s still able to play and pick a pass. It’s all for a good cause in Unicef.

Do the celebs get nervous?

They do. You’re in the dressing room and you’ve Mo Farah there, and he’s so nervous. He’s someone who has won Olympic gold medals. I think, how can you be nervous about this when you had to deal with the expectation that came with running for your country at a home Olympics? Yet he was a bundle of nerves and said he didn’t sleep a wink the night before Soccer Aid. It really matters to them.

Do you get the same buzz as when you were on the touchline for, say, Spurs?

It’s not quite as nerve-racking. Your living is not depending on it, for one, and you don’t have 60,000 people hurling abuse at you when you’re losing. But there’s definitely an edge to every game. I absolutely love Kenny Dalglish, I’ve known him since he was 14, but that still didn’t stop us from having a big argument at Wembley during a game over me using a substitution I wasn’t supposed to. I was putting Craig David back on, who’d already been on, and Kenny quickly picked up that I wasn’t allowed to do that and we had a bit of an argument. We both got in a mood but quickly made up after the game.

You’re on EastEnders tonight making a cameo appearance. Did you have fun?

It was good fun. They looked after me so well — the cast and everybody was great. When I was asked to do it I said I’d love to, as it’s a great programme. Sandra never misses an episode. I think that was the end of my acting career. Short and sweet — but it was good while it lasted.

You’ve been a TV regular since being in the jungle. How are you finding it?

My life has changed since I did I’m A Celebrity. I came out from that and suddenly people are asking me to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

Do you get more I’m A Celeb fans coming up to you than football fans now?

Absolutely. It’s more women and kids now who come up to me, rather than blokes about football. It used to be just the guys coming up to me to talk about their team but now it’s gone completely the other way.

Soccer Aid for Unicef is on September 4 at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, tickets from socceraid.org.uk


MORE : Jose Mourinho criticises Gareth Southgate over Jack Grealish substitution in England’s win over Denmark at Euro 2020


MORE : Gary Lineker pleads with England fans who plan to boo Italy anthem in Euro 2020 final

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