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Tottenham round-up: Kane injury latest; Janssen strike to ignite career; Everton-man prime target

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Serg Hoholok.

Scott is a Port Vale fan who writes regularly for The Boot Room as a freelancer. He is a fan of several sports but most of his experience in journalism comes from football and volleyball. He has produced several works on major Championships for both the FIVB and CEV in the volleyball world out in Switzerland, and is currently studying for a BA Hons in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.

Manchester United

Tottenham’s decision to rush back Harry Kane cost them in the FA Cup

The England international has only recently come back from injury.

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Harry Kane
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Harry Kane was a shadow of his former self against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final Saturday afternoon, contributing little as Tottenham Hotspur fell to a 2-1 defeat.

The English international struggled to influence the match and was clearly off the pace. It is glaringly clear that Mauricio Pochettino rushed Kane back from his ankle injury far too soon; a decision that may well have cost Spurs their best recent chance at silverware.

Back in March, the striker crumpled under an awkward challenge from Bournemouth‘s Asmir Begovic and left the match on crutches. Spurs fans held their breath in fear and were crushed when it was later revealed Kane had suffered ligament damage.

It was a blow that was widely expected to keep Kane on the sidelines for the next couple months, but remarkably the striker returned just three weeks later in a 3-1 away win against Chelsea.

However, in the following run of matches leading up to the season-defining encounter against Manchester United, Kane had largely looked unfit and missing his classic verve and intensity that has come to define his game.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

This lethargy was notably on show in the midweek fixture against Brighton. Although the 24-year-old scored a goal, he appeared tired and unwilling to make his characteristic attacking runs behind the defence.

On the biggest stage of them all, Tottenham’s star striker was well off his prolific best. It was a shame that Kane could not rise to the Wembley occasion and send Spurs to the FA Cup final.

However, it is through no fault of the Englishman, as the blame must be placed on the over-eager Tottenham backroom staff. There was no need to rush Kane back for the league matches before the massive semifinal, and the striker should have been saved for the United match.

As a result of Pochettino’s poor decision, Spurs are trophy-less and Kane is damaged – a tragic turn of events for the north London club.

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English Premier League

Tottenham should target Mario Lemina as long-term Mousa Dembele replacement

The Lilywhites should begin planning for life after the Belgian international.

Jake Jackman

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Mario Lemina
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The upcoming summer is going to be important for every top-six team for different reasons and they will all be looking to compete for the title.

Tottenham have been on the brink of achieving something special under Mauricio Pochettino. They have established themselves as a regular Champions League team and have played some excellent football, but they have yet to deliver a title challenge from post to post and that is their next challenge.

Throughout his time in North London, Pochettino has been reluctant to spend big money on a ready-made world-class player. The Argentine prefers to sign potential and mould a player in his own image. This summer, he will need to strengthen his squad once again as he lacks depth in a couple of positions.

One area of the pitch that he will look to add reinforcements is central midfield. Mousa Dembele has been the star in that position, but he is now 30 and he can’t be expected to play every match across all competitions.

Meanwhile, Victor Wanyama has only played 14 times in the Premier League and seems out of favour with Pochettino. Eric Dier and Harry Winks are both good options, but neither have pushed on in the way that Tottenham would have hoped.

There is a lot of quality in the middle of the park at Tottenham, but there haven’t been two players to make the positions their own. The answer to their midfield problems could come from an unlikely place.

Southampton have been a good stepping stone club since their return to the Premier League and, despite their impending relegation, they could have one more jewel worth pursuing.

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Mario Lemina has had a mixed first season in England, but there is no doubting his quality in midfield areas. The Gabon international arrived from Juventus and it was considered a coup at the time. He may not have thrived in the manner many expected, but it has been tough to shine in a team battling relegation.

He is a similar midfielder to Dembele in many aspects. Lemina is very effective at winning possession and he is comfortable with the ball at his feet. The 24-year-old averages 2.3 dribbles per game, which is only fractionally lower than the 2.5 managed by the Tottenham midfielder.

Considering Lemina is playing his first season in a new country, this is an encouraging stat and suggests he can become the powerful ball-carrier that Dembele has been in recent seasons. In terms of regaining possession, the Southampton man averages 2.1 tackles won and 1.48 interceptions per ninety minutes.

This is superior to Dembele, who averages 1.14 tackles won and 1.48 interceptions per ninety minutes. There are times when players are stained by a relegation, but the stats underline the impact that Lemina has had on games since arriving in England and in a better team, he could be a revelation.

Southampton are not going to be in a strong negotiating position if they are relegated, as expected. Despite their struggles this season, they have a lot of quality in their squad and there won’t be a shortage of takers for a lot of their players.

Lemina is the standout in their squad and his experience with Juventus means that he has the mentality to step up to one of the top six clubs. He looks a perfect fit for Tottenham and would be a great long-term replacement for Dembele.

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English Premier League

Could Sam Johnstone challenge Hugo Lloris for the number one spot at Spurs?

The Manchester United goalkeeper would be a shrewd addition from Tottenham Hotspur.

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This summer it appears as though Tottenham Hotspur will be needing to sign a new goalkeeper. Michel Vorm is out of contract and with only Argentine stopper Paulo Gazzaniga in reserve, Mauricio Pochettino will be targeting another stopper to play back-up to club captain Hugo Lloris. Now, according to The Sun, that man has been identified in the form of Manchester United stopper Sam Johnstone.

The Englishman has been in fine form this season, during a loan spell at Championship side Aston Villa. Johnstone is out of contract at Old Trafford in June and Spurs would like to bring him to North London to continue his career.

Undoubtedly the time has come for Johnstone to leave United, where he clearly is not seen as a first-teamer for the future. However, if he moved to Spurs, he would just be back on the bench playing back-up once again.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

But perhaps not?

Johnstone is a fantastic goalkeeper and, at 25-years-old, he should no longer be considered a second-choice keeper.

His form for Villa this season has been impressive however and, if he did head to Spurs, there is no doubt he would want to push Lloris for the starting spot.

Based on recent form, that should not be considered an unlikelihood anymore.

Lloris has been performing poorly recently, making uncharacteristic mistakes. His form has seen some Tottenham fans question whether or not the Frenchman may now be past his best.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Johnstone may not be a household name, but when coming through the ranks at United he was considered the top keeper in his age bracket on the international scene – ahead of current England contender Jack Butland.

If Johnstone was to arrive at Tottenham this summer he would surely not be looking to simply sit on the bench week in and week out. If he could perform like he has been at Villa, Johnstone might actually be in with a shout of becoming the Tottenham number one.

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