Harry Kane is a little sick and tired of you questioning his fitness. Okay?
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The Tottenham Hotspur striker failed to make a big impact (in fairness, so too did many of his teammate) in their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters after that game and ahead of Spurs’ trip to face Inter Milan in their UEFA Champions League group stage opener on Tuesday, Kane hit back at claims he isn’t fully fit after his exploits at the World Cup for England this summer.
“People are always going to look for stuff, especially when you are a big part of the team and someone who is there to get the goals,” Kane said. “As a team we can all do better and as the striker you get spoken about more, but I feel sharp and fit and if I wasn’t the manager would not be picking me. He believes in me, I believe in myself and hopefully I can score a couple of goals on Tuesday and it will be put to bed.”
Kane scored twice in August for his first-ever goals in that calendar month in his career, but the goals don’t mask the signs of fatigue.
His overall displays seem sluggish, he isn’t dropping deeper and getting on the ball and he certainly isn’t having as many shots as he was at this time last season. His teammates are also struggling with fitness concerns but their talisman seems to be impacted by it more than most.
The 25-year-old seems to be running on empty early in the season and has been ever since his heroic display in the World Cup Round of 16 clash against Colombia when he led the line and held up the ball for England superbly. His six goals in the 2018 World Cup won him the Golden Boot but he has since admitted he should’ve scored more and his quite disappointed with his displays.
Kane is of course going to say he’s fit and sharp to perform right now but as we saw with Maurizio Sarri and his treatment of Eden Hazard (he didn’t start Chelsea’s opening two games of the season), Spurs could really do with giving Kane a rest. But after back-to-back defeats in the PL, can they do that anytime soon? The time to do it was against Newcastle and Fulham in the opening games of the season.
If Kane continues to show signs of fatigue and being below his usual high standards, Mauricio Pochettino will have a serious decision to make. The Argentine coach dismissed questions about Kane’s fitness after the Liverpool loss, but he’s kidding himself if he thinks Kane is as fresh as he was at this point in previous seasons.
Yet he isn’t the only worry. Most of Spurs’ regular starters played the entire World Cup tournament and others around Kane — Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier to name a few — also look in need of a long rest, while Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris have already picked up injuries.
Kane needs to be rested before he harms himself, and Spurs, long-term.