JAMIE Redknapp – an ex-player with a foot in both FA Cup camps – has revealed how his time at Dean Court helped him make the grade with Liverpool.
The former England international cut his teeth in the Cherries midfield under the management of father Harry during a brief spell in the late 1980s and early 90s.
Born in Barton-on-Sea, Redknapp made his league debut for Cherries at the age of 16 and went on to appear for the club 21 times in all competitions.
His performances and potential persuaded Liverpool to swoop and Redknapp went on to captain the Reds, scoring 41 goals in 308 matches for the Anfield outfit.
Now 40 and a regular television pundit and newspaper columnist, Redknapp admits his footballing education with Cherries put him on the path to the big time.
In an interview with the club’s official matchday programme, Redknapp said: “It is hard for me to put into words what my time at Bournemouth meant to me.
“When I look back, my fondest memories in football were while I was there. Sweeping the changing rooms, cleaning Luther Blissett’s boots and training with the first team, I can’t tell you how much fun we had. I earned no money whatsoever but those years were so special.
“It is only when I look back now that I think it was that time that really helped me make it as a player. I used to train with the first team, the players used to kick me even then and I was one of them. But I had to join in with all the apprentices. I did all the jobs and spent my whole summer holidays there.
“Of course, it helped me become a footballer but I also wonder whether I had the knee problems I did because I played too much when I was younger. You always look into things and why they turn out like they do but it was the greatest time ever, even though I only played a few games.
“Perhaps my dad held me back as much as anything and I maybe didn’t show the fans there what I was capable of because I wasn’t there long enough.”
Redknapp believes a sell-out Dean Court crowd will get to see Liverpool’s big guns in Saturday’s fourth round clash between his former clubs.
Discussing the chances of an upset, he added: “When you look at people like Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard, you doubt it. But stranger things have happened in football.
“I would be very surprised if Brendan Rodgers chose to rotate his team because he does not need to.
“The Champions League is coming up now for a lot of clubs but that is not the case for Liverpool, so I don’t think the manager will take any risks.”