Two thumbs up for Redknapp in allowing Reds to field Torres

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2007, 12:00am

It was only after some touchline drama minutes before the start of the match that Liverpool's Fernando Torres was able to make an appearance against Portsmouth in the Barclays Asia Trophy final.

Striker Torres replaced Harry Kewell in the 51st minute of Friday night's match at the Hong Kong Stadium to the joy of the packed stands, but it all could have been very different.

Torres was not even named as a substitute on the official team list that was released just 15 minutes before the match, as his international clearance had still not arrived.

However, minutes before the start English Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore received a call on his mobile to say that the clearance had been given.

It was then down to Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp to agree, which he did without any hesitation.

Derek Currie of ESPN was working on the touchline for the TV station while officials were trying frantically to work things out before the beginning of the game.

'We knew that clearance was expected any minute for Torres from the Spanish FA, which was why the start of the match was delayed for a few minutes,' Currie said.

'The clearance was supposed to have come earlier but for whatever reason there was still no word of it arriving, but once Richard Scudamore received the call it was only a matter of Harry Redknapp agreeing.

'His Portsmouth team were in a final and it was within his rights to say no, as he had not personally been given the official clearance papers. But he did the decent thing and gave Richard two thumbs up, to show that Torres could play. Everybody did the right thing and Hong Kong fans got to see him in action which was great.'

Redknapp's sportsmanship was rewarded in the end, though, as Torres missed two gilt-edged chances when he came on, and then had his penalty saved by Pompey keeper David James in the shootout. Portsmouth went on to win the shootout 4-2.