Mourinho reveals whether Gareth Bale can step up and play as a striker in Kane’s absence

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Jose Mourinho has ruled out the possibility of Gareth Bale slotting into a striker role to cover for Harry Kane, who picked up an ankle injury against Liverpool.

Kane was forced off at half-time against Liverpool and there is no confirmation as of yet on how long the striker is going to be out for.

Mourinho stated that being without the England captain will be a big blow but admitted that the situation is not anywhere as bad as last season when Spurs lost not only Kane but also the likes of Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn to injuries at the same time.

The Tottenham boss told Football.London: “Harry Kane is Harry Kane, you know. There are players in some teams, that are not replaceable.

“But one thing is to have like last season three or four attacking players all injured at the same time. And another thing is to have Harry Kane.

“Because of course we have Carlos Vinicius, Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela, Gareth Bale and if I forgot anyone, I apologise for that. Of course, it’s a different situation, because we have attacking players.”

However, Mourinho ruled out the idea of playing Bale as a makeshift number nine, revealing that the Welshman had told him that he is not as comfortable playing up front as he is on the right-hand side.

When asked about Bale filling in for Kane, the Portuguese coach responded: “I don’t think [Gareth] is a striker, I don’t think he likes to play as a striker.

“It was something that we spoke when he joined us, he was very objective with me, by saying he doesn’t feel he is a left-winger like he was before, he doesn’t feel like he is a No.10 like he was before, too.

“The position that he likes to play is the position where we are playing him every minute we give him, which is the right side of the attack. so when Harry plays starting or coming from the bench, that’s his position in our game.”

Bale showed some glimpses of his old self in the 4-1 win over Wycombe on Monday as the 31-year-old was more willing to take risks in possession.

When asked if he is hopeful that the winger can step up at a crucial stage of the season, Mourinho said: “Yeah, hope so. He didn’t play much, he played 15 mins with the team losing 3-1 and at that moment, of course, Liverpool comfortable and controlling the game.

“But he played 90 mins in the FA Cup [against Wycombe]. Of course, that for him is a big impact, to play 90 minutes. So today impossible to be fresh to play a lot.

“But is a crucial moment for him, he is feeling better and better. And of course, when you lose a player of Harry’s quality and dimension, the other guys have to step up. And hopefully, he can help us.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Bale might not believe that playing as a number 9 or number 10 is his best position but he might be willing to fill in there for a few games considering how little game time he has had this season.

I would not read too much into Mourinho’s statement as the Spurs boss also hinted ahead of the clash against Liverpool that he is unlikely to use a back three. So, I would not be surprised to see Bale start upfront alongside Bergwijn and Son against Brighton.

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