Wednesday 22 January 2020

Jose Mourinho could lose Harry Kane for rest of Spurs' season

Jose Mourinho. Photo: Getty Images
Jose Mourinho. Photo: Getty Images

Matt Law

Jose Mourinho has raised the possibility that Harry Kane may not play for Tottenham Hotspur again this season, leaving England manager Gareth Southgate facing a nervous wait over his captain ahead of this summer's European Championships.

Tottenham last week announced Kane was not expected to return to training until April, after it was confirmed that he required surgery on a torn hamstring.

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But Spurs head coach Mourinho has revealed that he is not counting on having Kane available again this season, which leaves Southgate needing to make contingency plans. If Mourinho's worst-case scenario proves correct, then Kane will not have played for five months ahead of England's first Euro 2020 warm-up game on June 2 against Austria, with the first game of the tournament against Croatia scheduled for June 14.

Kane still believes he will recover in time to play again this season and posted an optimistic message on Twitter after surgery over the weekend. He wrote: "Surgery went very well. First day of recovery starts now."

Gloomier

But asked for an update on Kane's condition yesterday, Mourinho hinted at a gloomier outcome: "News on Harry we don't have, and if you ask me every time we come here the answer will be the same. We expect him to be out until mid-April, end of April, May, next season. I don't know."

Tottenham, who entertain Middlesbrough in an FA Cup third-round replay tonight, are desperately seeking a striker to cover for Kane.

They have asked about loaning Krzysztof Piatek from AC Milan, but the Italians are more interested in a sale, while Andre Silva, on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, and Lyon's Moussa Dembele are of interest.

Italian reports have even linked Fernando Llorente with a return to Tottenham on loan, just six months after he was not offered a new contract and joined Napoli, while Crystal Palace flop Christian Benteke has been offered to Spurs and has not yet been rejected.

With the striker search going on, Spurs are set to complete the signing of midfielder Gedson Fernandes on an initial 18-month loan to make up for the loss of Moussa Sissoko, whom Mourinho suggested could also miss the rest of the season. He hopes to sign a new central defender this month with Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti being linked with Tottenham in recent days.

Sissoko has undergone knee surgery and Tottenham estimate that the Frenchman will return in early April. But Mourinho, speaking about injury problems since he arrived at the club, said: "[Hugo] Lloris was a long injury, then Harry [Kane], then Moussa [Sissoko], Ben Davies, everything is long. It's not like you are waiting for somebody to come back next week or Sissoko in two weeks. It's in three or four months, who knows?"

Mourinho said that injuries and squad deficiencies meant he had no option but to play a full-strength team, other than Toby Alderweireld, against Middlesbrough and start unsettled midfielder Christian Eriksen again.

Spurs are in negotiations with Inter Milan over Eriksen, who was booed by some supporters when he was substituted in the defeat by Liverpool. "I would say to the fans, first of all that we always respect their reactions, always," Mourinho said. "But I would also say that if you love Tottenham, you go to a football match and support Tottenham. But again I repeat, we always respect their reaction."

Eriksen has entered the final six months of his Spurs contract and has told the club he will not sign a new deal. Mourinho said: "I know it is normal that a player in this situation doesn't perform at the highest level. But I can also say that he is helping us in matches that he is playing.

"I know what he is going to do. I am not going to say anything, but I know his future. At the moment he is my player and we need every player." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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