No one has done more to dispel the self-defeating myths about English football. He has shown there is nothing intrinsically wrong with British players, that it is simply a case of coaching and encouraging them in the right way.
“I agree 100 percent with Brendan on that, he’s absolutely right, I couldn’t agree more,” Redknapp said. “He’s proved you can do it.
“He has not exactly taken over world class players at Swansea and he has got them playing them playing the way they play. If you can do it a club like Swansea you can do it elsewhere too. You have to give them confidence to do it, to get out on the training pitch and pass the ball. And if we can do it from an early age with kids it would be fantastic — that’s what Barcelona would do.”
The Rodgers approach is ambitiously modelled on Pep Guardiola’s team. With the ball there is an emphasis on possession, building play from the goalkeeper up, having the patience to tease out the opening. Without the ball it is about pressing as a pack, every player working hard to win the ball back.
“They’ll play that way against us,” Redknapp said. “You end up worrying about how you stop them playing — it’s unbelievable really. In the past when a team has come up from the Championship you expect to run all over them. With Swansea if you don’t get it right you are in trouble.”
The player that has come to embody the Swansea way is Leon Britton, the 5ft 5in central midfielder whose pass completion ratio this season has been the best in Europe, surpassing that of Xavi.
“I signed Leon at West Ham, we took him from Arsenal as a kid,” Redknapp said. “He was a smashing little player in the youth team but after I left they let him go. He went to Swansea and was with them when they looked like they might go out of the league. He’s a fantastic footballer but he is lucky he has found a manager that can see it.
“I think there are lots of players around like him. Players who, in the right system for the right team, can really play.
“I think it all changed when Wimbledon were successful. They got the best out of what they had. I’m not knocking them: what they did was a miracle, winning the FA Cup and doing what they did in the league. But then a lot more teams went that way. People would think ‘this is the only way we can do it if we haven’t got the players’. What Brendan has done is show you can do it a different way. He has shown you don’t need to have a team of hammer-throwers.
“There are definitely more teams looking to play now. We had a young goalkeeper [David Button] go out to Barnsley on loan and they told Tony Parkes [Tottenham goalkeeping coach] they wanted a goalkeeper who could play with his feet, the way the Swansea goalkeeper does.
“It is great to see more teams playing that way. There are very few teams playing the direct style. I think it will help the international team the more teams play that way because you’ll produce better technical players.”
Spurs are different to Swansea in some ways. Redknapp’s team are the best in the league at hitting long switch passes, using the pace they have up front and out wide — especially Gareth Bale. Swansea are considered, sometimes even conservative; Spurs are fairly gung-ho. But ultimately these are two teams who are jealous of the ball. It is no coincidence that they are also the two cleanest teams in the league.
There are deeper bonds developing between the clubs. Rodgers has close links with coaches in Tottenham’s progressive youth set up. When Tottenham were looking for a club for their highly promising centre back Steven Caulker, they went for Swansea, knowing he would learn to be comfortable on the ball. Tom Carroll, the small but gifted 19-year-old midfielder, could follow next season. For players with finesse, it is the perfect finishing school. With Rodgers’s influence, St George’s Park could be that too.