Regaling Redknapp

Regaling Redknapp
ENGAGING: QPR manager Harry Redknapp (second from far right) working his charm on the press pack, including TNP's Sazali Abdul Aziz.

ENGLAND - Before Jose Mourinho, there was Harry Redknapp.

English football's media darling, the Cockney Guv'nor, a proper East End geezer.

Now in charge of Championship side Queens Park Rangers, Redknapp met the media Friday morning at the club's training ground in Harlington, ahead of the team's clash with Blackpool at Loftus Road on Saturday.

Fashionably late, he sauntered into the press conference room with a cup of hot tea in his hand, and greeted the waiting press pack with a smile and a sprightly: "Morning, lads."

He pulled up a chair, put his cup and mobile phone on the table, and we were off.

Now, you can't say Redknapp is as handsome as Portuguese peacock Mourinho - not by a long way.

But the 67-year-old certainly has a similar charm over the media.

After the first 10 minutes of the press conference was carried out in front of a camera by the club's in-house reporters, he beckoned the other journalists in the room to pull our chairs up to his table to have a more intimate session.

There's no doubt Redknapp has entertained bigger audiences in the Premier League, when he was in charge of West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and QPR.

But, leaning back on his chair, the manager still thoughtfully answered every question thrown at him.

The topics discussed - "would left-back Clint Hill get a new contract at the end of the season" - were not exactly front-page news.

But one issue he spoke most passionately about was rising star Ravel Morrison.

The 21-year-old, who joined QPR on loan a month ago from Premier League side West Ham, has been on fire with five goals in eight games for the Championship side.

But, Morrison's off-the-pitch antics - he was involved in an assault charge on his girlfriend while at Manchester United, and was fined £7,000 ($15,000) by the Football Association for a homophobic tweet in 2012 - have threatened to derail a promising career.

So much so that even Sir Alex Ferguson, who once labelled Morrison the most talented player he had seen since Paul Scholes, gave up on him.

But, Redknapp, who has managed to get the best out of a madcap talent like Paolo Di Canio at West Ham, says Morrison can still reach the top of his game.

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