Tottenham playmaker Rafael van der Vaart has voiced his displeasure at being played out of position by manager Harry Redknapp in the 2-1 victory overNorth London neighbours Arsenal.
Van der Vaart has usually been deployed in central positions, either behind a lone striker or as part of a two-man midfield, and the Holland international believes those are the roles that allow him to display his skills.
However, Redknapp opted to switch him to the wider areas at White Hart Lane on Sunday and, although he scored Tottenham’s opening goal, Van der Vaart has risked Redknapp’s wrath by revealing he was frustrated to have to do so much defensive work.
“I have definitely had a series of irritations. You want to play in the position where you do best,” he told The Sun.
“But if I have to chase after an attacking full-back every time, I can’t play my own game to my best ability.
“Sunday was not the first time I have played out wide and I was given the freedom to move infield. But you could see from the goal I scored that my strength lies in the centre of midfield.
“It proves that I am more dangerous when I am close to the goal than when I play out on the wing. I do what the manager asks me to but I hope this won’t be a regular occurrence.”
Van der Vaart was also unhappy that Redknapp decided to substitute him in the 63rd minute and bring on Sandro to reinforce the midfield.
Redknapp regularly takes Van der Vaart off because there is a weakness in the player’s hamstrings, a remark the 28-year-old wishes the manager had kept to himself.
“In my opinion he made a mistake in making his comments about my most recent injury,” Van der Vaart said.
“He took me off because he did not want to take any risks with me. I can understand that but I am convinced I could have played for 90 minutes.
“I was amazed to be taken off. I felt I’d played a great game. I scored and also three times put team-mates in one-on-ones with Arsenal’s keeper.
Van der Vaart has also criticised Arsenal for taking their defeat badly, following suggestions that his goal should not have stood and that he should have received a second yellow card for celebrating with the crowd.
“They are bad losers. No, it was not handball – I took the ball on my chest,” he said.
“And have you seen how close the crowd is to our pitch? Where else should I run?