It was a sight that no Spurs fan wanted to see on Sunday, as Harry Kane limped off the field after ten minutes of the club’s 6-0 FA Cup triumph over Millwal after appearing to twist his ankle following a challenge by Lions’ defender Jake Cooper. Although the hosts went on to punish their League One opponents without their star man, with Son Heung-Min shining by bagging a hat-trick, there will still be much concern over Kane’s injury, as he is set for an ankle scan on Monday.
He did manage to walk off the pitch, yet with the injury bearing striking resemblance to that which kept the England forward out of action for ten games earlier in the campaign, manager Mauricio Pochettino is rightly concerned about the potential for a lengthy absence, after Kane left White Hart Lane post-match on crutches, wearing a protective boot.
“He twisted his ankle in the same way as before, it was the same ankle he injured in the game against Sunderland,” Pochettino told Sky Sports.
“Now we have to wait. It’s difficult. We hope it’s not a big issue but it looks a similar situation as his previous injury. We hope it’s not a big issue. I’m sure it will be difficult to play against Southampton next weekend.
“Of course I’m sad about Harry’s injury but we have to find a solution. When you lose a player like Harry you will miss him. Harry is one of the best strikers in England but we can’t cry.”
At present Pochettino would probably take just missing Kane for the Southampton fixture, as would, most probably, every England supporter, with an upcoming World Cup qualifier against Lithuania to follow a prestige friendly against reigning World Cup champions and Euro 2016 semi-finalists Germany. Only time will tell as to the severity of Kane’s injury, and whether or not it my prove detrimental to their season’s aspirations.
If Kane is to be out for any length of time, however, Pochettino can take heart from not only his team’s devastating attacking display (including Son’s beautifully taken hat-trick), but the fact that Vincent Janssen is finally off the mark for the North Londoners in open play, a goal which could ignite his White Hart Lane career, according to the Argentine.
Without the influence of Kane, Pochettino’s squad lacks a potent goalscorer. Dele Alli is into double figures and Son has contributed well when utilised in a central role this campaign, but the club is missing another leading figure who can plunder 20 goals plus a season. Netherlands international Janssen has struggled for form and games since his big-money move from AZ Alkmaar, but finished well from Son’s cross to put the gloss on a decent performance in which he led the line well against the Lions.
“I said that in the last months Janssen stepped up and started to work better. I was happy in the way his performances were on the training ground”, Pochettino told the London Evening Standard.
“In football you need to be ready when you have an opportunity to show your quality. It’s a problem when the player is not ready for different reasons.
“Now it’s a different case Janssen is working very hard he has a great opportunity to score and he scored, plus Son scores a hat-trick – we are very happy.”
The form of both players could be paramount to Tottenham’s cause if they are staring down the barrel of losing their leading scorer to injury. Pochettino’s men, despite the title looking long-shot, must maintain their league form to be sure of a Champions League spot, with a potentially critical North London derby to come in April, whilst they still have a realistic shot at silverware after having qualified for the FA Cup semi-finals following Sunday’s win.
In terms of plans for beyond this season, speculation has been slowly gathering momentum that Everton star Ross Barkley may be in the line to swap Merseyside for North London, and now the 23-year-old is thought to be Mauricio Pochettino’s Number One target this summer, if reports from the Daily Mirror are to be believed.
At such a young age, the man who came through the ranks at Everton is ideal to slot into Pochettino’s youthful side, whilst also having played enough Premier League games to provide that touch of experience required. With doubts also remaining over club-record singing Moussa Sissoko’s future at the club, there is the possibility the two clubs could reach a swap deal, with the Toffees having targeted the France international in the summer before he opted to join Spurs.
Whether a swap deal is included or not, any move for Barkley would require significant investment from Daniel Levy’s point of view. He has been regularly appearing in Ronald Koeman’s team at Goodison Park of late and may well cost Spurs in excess of £30million.
Although an ethos of the club has been to cut costs by utilising their own academy to create players, as well as bring in youngsters from elsewhere in cut-price deals, investing heavily in such a signing would not only be a development to this philosophy of recruiting youth, but also give out a huge statement of intent to the rest of the Premier League.
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