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Portsmouth boss Redknapp: How I built my FA Cup winners

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has happily detailed how he put his FA Cup winning team together.

He said: "I get the best out of them because I don't treat them like schoolkids. If they have a problem and need a day off from training, they get it. I treat them with a lot of respect and as long as they respond in the right way, that's fine.

"They're all good lads. I make sure of that before I sign them. You look them in the eye and you can tell whether they still have the hunger to achieve something. If you feel a player is just looking for another move and a few more quid, they're not the type you want.

"I can't have anyone who will ruin the good spirit we have.

"Campbell, Distin, Kanu, Hreidarsson all came here on frees. David James, he cost us a million quid. They've all been fantastic signings. I won't name some of the people who tried to talk me out of signing David James because I don't want to embarrass them.

"It was the same with Sol. People were ringing me up going, 'Are you mad? He's finished, you must be off your head taking him on'. But when I met him I knew he still had a point to prove and I knew I could still get something out of him. He walked away from Arsenal where he had another three years on a contract worth something like £15million - not the cleverest thing I've seen anyone do.

"He just felt no one at Arsenal wanted him any more so I made him feel good about himself again. I told him what he could do for us, that I wanted him to be my captain.

"I was driving up and down to London every day until I convinced him to join us. And he came here on half the money he was on at Arsenal.

"Once I had Campbell and James on board, I knew there would be no more relegation battles for us with those two at the back."

But it is not just the England duo who have benefited from Harry's magic touch. He added: "Distin was another free transfer with something to prove. He's been a fantastic signing.

"Hermann Hreidarsson holds the world record for getting relegated. When we signed him, my chairman said, 'I've looked him up and he's gone down more than any other footballer in history'.

"I thought 'Oh my God' but he's another one who has been great."

Redknapp's transfer philosophy is gradually evolving as he looks to reduce the age of his squad and improve their chance of competing for trophies on a regular basis.

He said: "I've brought in Lassana Diarra, Niko Kranjcar and Jermain Defoe. It's great we can attract players like that. We're getting a new training ground as good as anything in the country, hopefully a new stadium will be built and this club can keep going forward."

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Tribal Football Staff

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