Van der Vaart struggling
SOCCER ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: RAFAEL VAN der Vaart fears that he will be ruled out for four weeks with the hamstring injury that he suffered in Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League win over Liverpool on Sunday.
Although the midfielder has not had confirmation of the extent of the damage, he is worried that he has torn a muscle in the area and he will struggle to play again until after Christmas.
If that were proved to be the case, he would miss Tottenham’s league fixtures against Birmingham City, Chelsea and Blackpool, along with the Champions League trip to FC Twente in his native Holland next Tuesday, in which his club will seek the victory that would ensure they advance into the last 16 as group winners. Spurs play a further three league matches in seven days beginning on St Stephen’s against Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Fulham.
Van der Vaart has made a dazzling start to his Tottenham career, following his move from Real Madrid for €9.4 million on transfer deadline day, scoring eight goals in 14 appearances, including the equaliser from the penalty spot in the 3-2 derby triumph at Arsenal the Saturday before last.
However, he has also endured a series of niggling injuries, principally to his hamstrings, which prompted the manager, Harry Redknapp, to say earlier in the month that he had to “get fitter and adapt to playing 90 minutes in the Premier League”. Redknapp commented that Van der Vaart “does just run out of steam a little bit”.
Van der Vaart was forced off at Manchester United on October 30th with what initially looked like a hamstring strain but turned out to be cramps and he declared himself fit for the following game at home to Internazionale in the Champions League, which Spurs memorably won 3-1. Van der Vaart, though, felt the hamstring tighten and he came off at half-time.
Redknapp has said that Van der Vaart’s problems might have been related to his exertions at the World Cup with Holland.
Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher will discover today whether he requires surgery on the shoulder injury that threatens to deprive Roy Hodgson of the influential defender until January.
Liverpool’s vice-captain dislocated his left shoulder five minutes from the end of the defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday after landing awkwardly following an aerial challenge with Peter Crouch. Initial estimates put the 32-year-old’s recovery period at six weeks but, despite undergoing a scan on Merseyside yesterday, Liverpool’s medical department has yet to decide whether to book the defender in for an operation that could prolong his absence. A decision is expected after further consultations today.
With Daniel Agger out for at least another two weeks with a calf injury and Steven Gerrard sidelined with a hamstring tear suffered on England duty, the loss of Carragher is another untimely setback for Hodgson. Gerrard, however, has a slight chance of returning 10 days ahead of schedule when Gerard Houllier returns to Anfield with Aston Villa on Monday night.