Utaka tipped to flourish
Harry Redknapp is confident the Premier League will see the best of John Utaka next season.
Last Updated: 24/04/08 3:32pm
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is confident the Premier League will see the best of John Utaka next season.
The Nigerian winger has experienced a mixed debut campaign on the South Coast since moving to England in the summer.
A £7million price tag saw weighty expectations placed on the shoulders of the 26-year-old and for the first part of the season he delivered with a series of exciting displays.
His form subsequently dipped as injuries also hampered his progress but having made a goalscoring return against Manchester City last week, Redknapp has challenged his big-money buy to stay in the side.
'It's great to get John back in the team and playing again. He is important to us," Redknapp told The News.
"He's come back from injury but we won't be resting him. He needs to play some games before Wembley.
"With him there we have the option of a 4-4-2 or a midfield five. He's got pace, skill and he's strong.
"He's been up and down to be honest. He started ever so well for the first few games, then went off the boil a bit. But he has still scored fantastic goals at Newcastle and Reading.
"You've got to be a bit patient. It's his first year here and he's got to adjust. He's been playing in France, it's a different pace over there.
"John will be here next year, without a doubt, and I'm sure he'll produce what we know he's capable of."