Szczesny is simply from a different culture says Redknapp.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp has defended Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after the stopper was caught smoking in the showers following the 2-0 Premier League defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day.
Szczesny has not played for the Gunners since the Saints loss – sitting out the FA Cup victory over Hull City and league win against Stoke – and many believe it is mainly because of this off-field misdemeanour.
However, Redknapp says that he has known plenty of players over the years that have smoked, but as long as they are performing well on the pitch then it doesn’t matter.
“Keeper Wojciech Szczesny was caught having a crafty puff in the showers and then dropped from the team,” Redknapp was quoted by CaughtOffside.
“Smoking cannot be condoned in any way – kids out there, don’t do it.
“But while it does seem to be a thing of the past for most English players, it is still fairly common among foreigners.
“And the difficult issue for a manager faced with this situation in his dressing room is that you simply cannot stop your players having a sly fag or two if that is their habit.
“Szczesny was a bit daft to be collared smoking in the showers. But can you discipline a player for it? It’s a tough one.
“When I was manager at Portsmouth some years back, we managed a real coup by signing masterful Croatian midfielder Robert Prosinecki.
“He was and still is one of the few footballers to have played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. And he loved a cigarette.
“Pompey knew about it when they signed him at the tail end of his career.
“He didn’t have to hide it from me because I was fully aware, but what can you do? The problem you have as his boss is that if he is smoking 20 a day but turning in brilliant performances on the pitch, you are powerless.
“Lots of foreign players grow up with smoking in their culture. Slaven Bilic played for me at West Ham. He liked a ciggy, yet he was terrific every game.
“I believe Johan Cruyff enjoyed a smoke? Who is going to knock him?”