The hottest striker in England not named Diego Costa has finally cracked the starting lineup, as Mauricio Pochettino has handed Harry Kane – somehow – his first start of the entire season.
He’ll take the reins up front for Tottenham at White Hart Lane as they take on Stoke City at 8:30am ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
The 21-year-old Spurs youth product has lit up the Europa League with seven goals in six appearances – including one this Thursday in a 2-1 win over Asteras Tripolo – and bagged the winner last weekend against Aston Villa off the bench. Kane not only starts, but does so by himself, with both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado on the bench.
A story broke this week that Adebayor invited a pair of Newcastle players into the Spurs dressing room after losing 2-1 a few weeks ago, which has angered the other players on the team and they have subsequently pushed the manager to start Kane.
Kane’s inclusion is one of a number of changes from last week’s match for Pochettino as Andros Townsend and Federico Fazio come into the side with Jan Vertonghen dropped.
Tottenham will look to Kane against a Stoke City side that has been rock solid in defense under Mark Hughes, and this season is no different. They’ve allowed just 12 goals this season in 10 matches, which is good enough for fifth in the Premier League. Despite that, the Potters sit in 13th having failed to create much up front.
Hughes has made just one change, dropping the American Geoff Cameron from right-back in favor of Phil Bardsley. Cameron has played only sparingly for Stoke this season, mostly due to injury, but has yet to find a consistent position since returning, having stated he wishes to play more centrally.
Even so, he deputized at right-back last weekend against West Ham and now makes way for usual right-back Bardsley.
Tottenham: Lloris; Naughton, Fazio, Kaboul, Rose; Capoue, Mason; Chadli, Eriksen, Townsend; Kane.
Bench: Vorm, Dier, Vertonghen, Dembele, Lamela, Adebayor, Soldado.
Stoke City: Begovic; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Walters, Sidwell, Bojan, Nzonzi, Moses; Diouf.
Bench: Sorensen, Muniesa, Ireland, Arnautovic, Adam, Cameron, Ireland, Crouch.