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Tottenham Hotspur must drop Harry Kane until he’s 100 percent fit

The Tottenham Hotspur striker has struggled since his return from an ankle problem.

Mathew Nash

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Once again all of Tottenham Hotspur’s impressive football and hard work will not end up with silverware this season. Spurs were dumped out of the FA Cup by Manchester United in the semi-finals yesterday. For the second year in a row, the final four is as far as Spurs go in the competition and, the first trophy under Mauricio Pochettino continues to elude them.

There was plenty for fans to discuss after the game but one major topic of discussion was the performance of Harry Kane. The England international struggled immensely against the Red Devils, rarely threatening to get into the game and leaving Spurs and England fans concerned.

It was another poor performance in a week of them for Kane. He was poor against Brighton in midweek, even if he did manage to find the back of the net.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

It leads to one alarming conclusion for Pochettino and Tottenham – they need to drop Kane.

Since his return from an ankle injury, the striker has not looked himself. A yard off the pace and not his usual rumbustious self in his pressing game, Kane is clearly not yet 100 percent.

It is admirable of Kane to have made his comeback from his ankle injury ahead of schedule. What is clear now, however, is that the Spurs supremo is not yet fully recovered.

His desire to play is a breath of fresh air and something Spurs fans must appreciate, but for the player’s own good he needs to be taken out of the firing line for a week or two.  

He, rightly, wants to chase Mohamed Salah of Liverpool for the Golden Boot but that is simply not going to happen. The Egyptian, who scored against West Brom this weekend, is now on 31 goals and showing no signs of slowing down. Kane, five goals behind, would need to find some epic form to topple him.

(during The Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on April 21, 2018 in London, England.

That form is not going to come whilst clearly not 100 percent.

Spurs are now, realistically, playing for their position in the Premier League top four. Kane should not be risked in such circumstances.

The likes of Heung-min Son and Erik Lamela can play the central role whilst forgotten man Fernando Llorente and youngster Kazaiah Sterling would love a chance to shine.

Whoever Tottenham do decide to replace him with is hardly important. The important thing is that they give Kane the break he needs but simply will not admit to.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Bournemouth

Fantasy Premier League: Five players to sign for matchweek two

There is plenty of names to swoop for ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.

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Photo: Getty Images

Fantasy Premier League returned with a bang last weekend, with a number of high-scorers handing plenty of players a solid start to the new campaign.

Popular players Sadio Mane, Richarlison and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all rewarded those who selected them on the opening weekend, each earning 12+ points, while Watford duo Roberto Pereyra (5.2%) and Jose Holebas (5.1%) also caught the eye and secured huge points for the few that opted for the Hornets pair.

Ahead of matchweek two in the Premier League, we have searched the databases for five players you should definitely look to pick up to provide your team with a boost.

Bernardo Silva: Manchester City

The news of Kevin De Bruyne’s knee injury has sent shockwaves across FPL, with 16.8% of players still having the Belgium international in their squad. If you fall into that category, you should definitely look at dropping the midfielder.

(Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images)

Bernardo Silva is the most likely candidate to step up for the Citizens in De Bruyne’s absence and he enters this weekend’s clash with Huddersfield Town in decent form, scoring the second goal in last week’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal.

Huddersfield conceded 58 goals last season, more than relegated pair West Brom and Swansea City, so Silva can be expected to add to his eight-point haul against the Terriers – especially as he has scored five goals in his last seven starts.

Ryan Fraser: Bournemouth

Scorer of the opening goal for Bournemouth in last weekend’s victory over Cardiff City, Ryan Fraser brought home 11 points for the few managers who had the midfielder in their side – and just 2.3% of managers have the 24-year-old in their squad.

Costing £5.5m, Fraser is perhaps a more expensive option to other creative players at lower-end Premier League sides to consider but he certainly has the form to make his outlay worthwhile – as he has been directly involved in six goals in his last six matches at the Vitality Stadium (four goals, two assists).

The Cherries are away from home this weekend against a West Ham side that were torn about by Liverpool on the opening weekend and Fraser could hold the key to breaking down Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

Ben Mee: Burnley

While the rest of the Premier League prepares for their second match, Burnley are well into their stride as Europa League qualifiers mean that Sean Dyche’s side have already played five matches this season – and they are in superb form.

The Clarets have now registered three consecutive clean sheets across all competitions following Thursday night’s 1-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir, although extra time could have taken some wind out of Burnley’s sails.

Hosting Watford this weekend, Ben Mee and the Burnley defence will face a stern test but history favours the hosts – who have not lost to the Hornets at Turf Moor since 2004, securing three clean sheets in the last three meetings in Lancashire.

Roberto Pereyra: Watford

Selected by 5.2% of managers heading into matchweek two, many may believe that Roberto Pereyra’s 16 point haul last weekend was just a freak occurrence after the 2-0 win over Brighton but the stats suggest that is not the case.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Pereyra has now hit four goals in his last five Premier League games at Vicarage Road and now faces the challenge of transferring that form into away matches – and a game against a tired Burnley side who played 120 minutes in midweek is the ideal opportunity for him to shine.

Watford need to build upon last weekend’s win as they have a tough run of fixtures coming up against Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal, with Pereyra’s attacking flair potentially providing the key to breaking down a resilient Burnley defence.

Neil Etheridge: Cardiff City

In last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth, Neil Etheridge became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty on his Premier League debut since Allan McGregor in 2013 by denying Callum Wilson from the spot – earning six points in the process.

The Welsh side are back at home this weekend against a Newcastle United outfit who continue to suffer under the tyranny of Mike Ashley. Defeat last weekend against Spurs was not surprising but has raised the pressure for Rafael Benitez’s side.

28-year-old Etheridge is a good bet to pick up further points this weekend against a Magpies side that scored just 39 goals in 38 matches last term, the lowest tally of any top-ten side excluding Burnley.

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Liverpool

Liverpool round-up: Grujic bid rejected; interest in Karius; Brewster nears return

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool have rejected a bid for Marko Grujic

The transfer window may have closed in England but it remains open until Friday in Italy and reports from the Liverpool Echo say that the Reds have turned down an approach from Serie A side Torino for midfielder Marko Grujic. The deal was reportedly a season long loan with an option to buy worth 10 million euros (£9 million).

The Serbian was heavily involved in pre-season after impressing for Cardiff City on loan last season and was expected to return to Wales after helping them earn promotion but a move collapsed.

Besiktas are considering a move for Loris Karius

Turkish newspaper Aksam claim that Besiktas have emerged as candidates to sign German goalkeeper Loris Karius on loan to provide him with an Anfield escape having lost the number one shirt to Alisson Becker after his Champions League final nightmare in Kiev in May.

Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the goalkeeper remain unclear despite publicly giving him a vote of confidence and a loan deal may be an ideal solution. Much could depend on the Turkish team’s pursuit of other targets, including Arsenal‘s David Ospina.

Rhian Brewster is nearing a return to fitness

It was a major blow to Liverpool’s plans for young striker Rhian Brewster when he picked up a serious ankle ligament injury in January, but under 23s manager Neil Critchley has told Goal that he could return to light training as soon as next month after a summer of rehabilitation.

“I’m sure he’ll be doing a few people’s heads in down at Melwood, chomping at the bit and ready to return! He’ll be quite restless. He’s a young boy who loves playing football and wants to play football, so he’ll hugely frustrated at the moment.”

Liverpool under 23s manager Neil Critchley has backed his striker.

The 18-year-old was training alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to rebuild fitness after signing a new deal to commit himself to the Merseyside outfit despite interest from elsewhere.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou clearly has no future at Tottenham Hotspur if Mainz deal goes ahead

Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly ready to let Nkoudou go on loan.

Mathew Nash

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It appears Tottenham Hotspur are ready to let Georges-Kevin Nkoudou leave the club on loan before the end of the month. According to Sky Sports, Spurs are ready to let the winger join Bundesliga side Mainz until the end of the season.

The Frenchman, who cost £9.4 million in 2016, has failed to make an impact at Spurs and was loaned out to Burnley last season. So seeing him being shipped out again may not come as a surprise.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

However, Nkoudou has recently shown what he is capable of. The 23-year-old had a brilliant pre-season as Tottenham won the International Champions Cup. He was named man-of-the-match in the penalty loss to Barcelona, in which he scored. He also found the net against AC Milan in a 1-0 win. His form this summer was electric and led many to believe might have a chance at Tottenham this season.

So the fact he is being loaned out probably suggests one thing. Nkoudou has no long-term future at Tottenham Hotspur.

Even after an impressive pre-season and with Tottenham thin on the ground the young Frenchman has been told to pack his bags and head elsewhere.

This may only be a temporary deal, but it appears the precursor to a more permanent Tottenham exit. 

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