Mauricio Pochettino believes there is more emphasis on him to play Harry Kane because the striker is a young English prospect – but the Tottenham head coach will not bow to supporter pressure.
Kane, 21, has scored eight goals for Spurs so far this season but has yet to score in, or start, a Barclays Premier League under Pochettino.
The Tottenham academy product has hit his goals in the Europa League and Capital One Cup but is now champing at the bit to line up against Aston Villa on Sunday.
With the more experienced duo of Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor having scored just two league goals between them it is understandable that Spurs fans want to see their local boy get a chance.
But Pochettino, who said on Friday that he is considering starting Kane at Villa Park, is not prepared to say for sure that the England Under-21 striker is going to have a run of league games.
“Always,” Pochettino replied when asked if there was more pressure on him to play Kane because of his nationality.
“Today if we were in Argentina and he was Argetinian player and playing with two foreign strikers, it would always be a sensitive situation.
“He is English, he is young and from the Tottenham academy so it is normal. We understand he is a special player for Tottenham and for our supporters.
“I understand because he is an English player. He scored the last game against Brighton and Asteras and I understand he is a special player for our supporters.
“My decision is always about my analysis on the training and after to give the balance to the team and our performance. Not only focus on different situations … but I understand and I know that this is a special player for our supporters.”
Kane has come through the ranks at Spurs and has also spent time out on loan at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester.
He was integrated into the Tottenham first-team by former boss Tim Sherwood, a former development coach with the club, and Pochettino is pleased to have Kane pushing the more experienced players to improve.
“I think it is a good thing for all of them,” he said.
“Harry is young, Roberto and Ade have a lot of experience and I think the energy Harry brings to the squad is important – it is good for him to prove from learning with Soldado and Adebyaor, sharing the training sessions and when they are in the team.
“We have a lot of games and we have ahead a lot of games. In every competition, we need to win. And sometimes you decide to pick different players in different competitions.
“But it’s true that the competition in front with Adebayor, Soldado and Harry Kane is very tough but I am very happy with Harry, I am very happy with Roberto and Ade. It’s true that they need to improve like the other teammates but I think we are in a good way.”
Pochettino also confirmed it remains ‘impossible’ to predict when England full-back Kyle Walker will be fit following a long-standing pelvic injury which has seen him sidelined since March – whilst any move to bring DeAndre Yedlin in during the January transfer window could be hit by a work permit hold up.
The 21-year-old, who appeared for the United States at the World Cup, has already agreed a four-year deal at White Hart Lane but remains on loan at Seattle Sounders and could yet stay in Major League Soccer until the summer.
Nabil Bentaleb is the only other injury absentee for the trip to face struggling Villa, with Aaron Lennon in contention despite only playing the opening 45 minutes against Brighton following a hamstring problem.
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