More potential unrest at Spurs after Van der Vaart Europa League snub
It seems that the Dutch have differing views on the importance of the Europa League, given the latest comments by Rafael Van der Vaart.
Tottenham’s odds remain 11/1 to win the Europa League, despite manager Harry Redknapp deciding to leave Van der Vaart out of his 25-man squad for the group stages of the competition at the expense of youngsters Jake Livermore and striker Iago Falque.
Three more players can be added to the squad after the group stages, but it is a slight risk to omit Van der Vaart and number one Brad Friedel out of the party for the six Group A encounters.
In reality Tottenham should have no problem finishing in the top two of a group containing Rubin Kazan, PAOK and Shamrock Rovers, but given their slow start to the season, it may have made sense for Redknapp to pick his strongest team in the Europa League to build confidence.
Van der Vaart has also been troubled by a hamstring injury that threatens to leave him sidelined for six weeks, which may have influenced Redknapp’s decision.
However, it has not impressed the 28-year-old, who spoke of his “annoyance” at the decision on his website and all Redknapp needs now is further unrest in his camp following the summer debacle surrounding Luka Modric.
Van der Vaart said: “Spurs could at least have consulted me, it’s a peculiar situation.
“Anyway, it’s up to the point of no return. I will be focusing on the game against Liverpool. I’m pretty convinced I will be fit by then.”
These are contrasting views to those given by another Dutchman Arjen Robben, when Bayern Munich were previously on the brink of missing out on a Champions League spot.
He said: “I cannot imagine playing in the Europa League. That is the worst that can happen. I think it is better if you don’t play in it at all.
“Even winning the Europa League would not mean anything for me.”
Tottenham begin their Europa League campaign in Greece against PAOK and are 5/4 to open with a victory.