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New boy amongst friends

Niko Kranjcar is delighted to be reunited with Harry Redknapp - a manager who he admits has had a major influence on his career.

Niko Kranjcar is delighted to be reunited with Harry Redknapp - a manager who he admits has had a major influence on his career.

It was Harry who gave the Croatian international his big break in English football when he brought him to Portsmouth from Hadjuk Split in the summer of 2006.

Although Niko played just 28 games in his first season at Fratton Park, he was then brought further into the fold on the south coast for the following 2007/08 campaign.

By the end of it, the midfielder had established himself as a key part of a Pompey side that achieved the club's highest ever league finish and lifted the FA Cup.

Now the 25-year-old prepares for what could be his Spurs debut against Manchester United on Saturday following his transfer deadline day move to The Lane.

"Harry has had a massive influence on my career," said Niko. "He gave me my first chance to play abroad, settled me in slowly during my first season in England, and then showed belief in me during the second season.

"His man-management skills makes every player want to play for him, and his football knowledge and experience of the game are big plus points as well."

And Harry is not the only familiar face Niko has joined this week as he began training with his new team-mates at Spurs Lodge.

"It's great to play amongst friends. Luka [Modric] and Vedran [Corluka], my fellow countrymen, were definitely big influences on me joining Spurs.

"I also know Jermain [Defoe] and Peter [Crouch], as well as the manager, from my time at Portsmouth, so I'm sure I will have no problem settling in."

Now Niko is relishing the challenge of becoming a key part of Harry's setup at The Lane.

He added: "I'm happy to be here. Joining Spurs is a big step forward for me, and I'm at a stage in my career now where I want to prove myself further.

"I want to help this Club achieve the goals it has set in front of itself, including continuing the great form the team has been showing of late.

"I know I will face competition for a place in the midfield, but that's why Spurs are a big club - the squad that we have is full of international players.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge because I believe competition for places only makes you play better and want to achieve more."