Spurs appoint new chief scout

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Mauricio Pochettino confirmed Tottenham have re-appointed Steve Hitchen as the club’s chief scout.

Hitchen began work on Monday, resuming a role he previously performed under Harry Redknapp, but the appointment is not linked to Paul Mitchell’s position as head of recruitment.

Mitchell tendered his resignation in August but is still serving a 16-month notice period at Spurs. He is due to stay until the end of the year but is unlikely to serve the full term as the club expect to find a replacement before then.

While Tottenham’s head of recruitment is responsible for the wider operation of player scouting, including analysis, data and networking with other clubs, Hitchen’s remit will be to identify talent.

Hitchen worked under former director of football Damien Comolli at White Hart Lane and followed the Frenchman when he left for Liverpool in 2010.

His most recent role was as joint-director of recruitment at Derby alongside former Tottenham scout Rob Mackenzie, but he departed when Nigel Pearson was sacked as manager in October.

Pochettino confirmed Hitchen’s appointment but was reluctant to discuss further details.

“Hitchen is true,” Pochettino said. “But we will wait until the club announce.

“It is one thing to confirm and another to release details. It is a different position to the head of recruitment.”

Pochettino also refused to give a timeframe on the return of Danny Rose after the defender saw a specialist on Monday about his knee injury.

Rose will miss Saturday’s game against Liverpool and is not expected back before the end of the month.

That would mean him sitting out two Europa League fixtures against Gent, as well as an FA Cup tie away to Fulham in between, and a Premier League game at home to Stoke.

His earliest return date is likely to be the home fixture against Everton in the league on March 5.

“He is very positive, we are very positive,” Pochettino said. “It is not a big issue, a minor problem, small problem.”

Jan Vertonghen will begin training again with the squad next week after overcoming an ankle injury but Erik Lamela is further away as he continues to wrestle with a niggling hip problem.

It means Tottenham are likely to stick with the back four they fielded against Middlesbrough last weekend, with Eric Dier taking Vertonghen’s place in the centre and Ben Davies deputising for Rose at left-back.

A Spurs win at Anfield would move them seven points clear of Liverpool and surely end any lingering hopes of a title challenge for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who are already 13 points behind Chelsea.

After just one victory in 10 matches, the suspicion is the Reds are struggling to maintain Klopp’s high-octane philosophy through the second half of the season.

It is a balance Pochettino has also had to strike with his own pressing style of play.

“I cannot speak for another coach but all the managers, Klopp with his experience, he is clever like other managers to provide good balance,” Pochettino said.

“If you win you are a genius, if you don’t win you are criticised. You need to be natural, spontaneous and believe in the way you play, use your methods.

“It’s an easy answer: only work in the way you believe you can achieve big things.”

Pochettino has Kieran Trippier available again this weekend.

The full-back has shaken off a hip injury but is more likely to feature against Gent and Fulham in the cup fixtures later this month.

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