Many supporters feared that Harry Kane’s season was over when he had to be helped to the dressing room by the medical team on April 9th at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Spurs striker sustained a significant ankle injury in the second half of the 1-0 victory against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final first leg following a heavy challenge by Fabian Delph left him clutching his left ankle.
Tottenham’s progression to the final of the competition which takes place in Madrid on Saturday against Liverpool has given Kane the opportunity to recover with manager Mauricio Pochettino revealing that the 25-year-old is on course to be fit (Guardian).
Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle believes that Kane should start the match on the bench and instead should be brought on for the last half hour or so of the showpiece which will be held at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
The former Spurs player and manager told Football.London: “I’m hoping that Harry Kane is on the bench. I’d put him on the bench because I think the tempo of the game will be very, very quick at the beginning,
“He’s not going to be 100 per cent fit and that ankle will still have to be strengthened if nothing else. Long-term there’s another scenario he’s got to protect it for.
“I would say every player on that pitch, whatever the scoreline, whether he’s coming on to score a goal or work defensively in the last half hour it’s a boost.
“If Harry Kane is coming on and the possibility of extra-time as well and Liverpool will be much more tired, fatigue levels will come in and the tempo of the game will be different and I think that will suit Tottenham down to the ground.
“If he’s got to stay on with Son and Moura because you’ve got to score a goal then they’re as good as any strike force in the country.
“So there’s a lot of positives from bringing him on. If it doesn’t go well for him at the beginning and he can’t get into the game because the tempo is too quick, I think it would be a major plus and a major boost for the players and fans to see him coming on. He can have an impact coming off the bench for sure.”
Hoddle, however, believes that Pochettino should take a risk on starting Harry Kane after the midfielder returned to training following groin surgery.
“Harry Winks is a bit different. Moura and Son are quite pacy and exciting. I think we probably might need a central midfielder if Dier doesn’t play and play well I think Harry Winks would be interesting to start,” he said.
“I think I would probably take the risk on him if he’s ok. His injury problem is a big risk but if he was fit I think that’s the area we need someone to get on the ball.
“He’s not the finished article by any means but he’s improving every season and I think he keeps the ball for us and allows us to have that shape where we can slide balls in.”
He added: “It depends [what Pochettino thinks]. The bench could well be the place for him to go, whether he’ll be able to live with the tempo, maybe we’re asking too much of him from the beginning of the game.
“Yes they might need a more defensive holding player in there in the early stages of the game, with the way Liverpool play.
“Even the bench with the two Harrys on there could be exciting for Tottenham. The other thing as well is I often question what’s more important, the team that starts the game or the one that finishes it? In a game like this it’ll be the team that finishes it, believe me.”
While Hoddle raises a valid point about Kane’s fitness and the impact he could have off the bench, Spurs must look to start the striker if he is fully fit. Waiting until the final quarter of the game could mean the game is already beyond the Lilywhites and he must start – along with Harry Winks who should partner Sissoko in the middle of the park.
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