Football

Spurs handed Kane boost

Pochettino confident striker will feature against Real

GROUP H
TOTTENHAM REAL MADRID


Tottenham Hotspur were handed a huge boost ahead of their crunch Champions League Group H tie with holders Real Madrid after talismanic striker Harry Kane returned to training yesterday.

The England international, who has scored 17 goals in his last 13 appearances for club and country, missed his side's 1-0 loss at Manchester United last Saturday with a minor strain to his left hamstring.

Said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino: "We're very confident... Maybe it's possible for him to play but I don't want to say 100 per cent."

Kane's importance to the Spurs team was highlighted by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who told Spanish newspaper AS the 24-year-old is the perfect example for young players.

Said the Frenchman: "He always wants to score, and if he scores a goal, he wants another one. He doesn't have to talk, make noise or show off in the dressing room… he does by showing.

"This is the kind of player that the young ones need to see. The leader shows on the field, in training, in the gym, in the game. And after, yes, you can use your voice.

"Kane is a perfect example."

While Spurs are boosted by Kane's return, Real Madrid are in the midst of an injury pile-up and a crisis of confidence.

After losing 2-1 to Girona on Sunday, they are now third in La Liga, eight points behind leaders Barcelona.

To compound matters, Los Blancos will be without Gareth Bale, Raphael Varane, Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal and Mateo Kovacic at Wembley.

Isco, who appeared to suffer a muscle injury against Girona, is included in Zinedine Zidane's squad but considered doubtful to start.

After Marcelo and Luka Modric had an angry exchange on Sunday, captain Sergio Ramos has called for unity.

He told Spanish radio station Onda Cero: "Nobody is to blame here, as I've always said.

"It's the wrong time to point fingers at anyone in particular because, as I said, we can always give more as a team and as individuals."

Lloris said Spurs gave 100 per cent individually and as a team when they grabbed a 1-1 draw against Real at the Santiago Bernabeu last month, opining that the result was a step forward in Tottenham's development.

He told AS: "We have built a solid reputation in England, we still haven't in Europe. I think that this season is very important and we want to show our worth in the Champions League...

"So then, you know you have Real Madrid in front of you, the best team, and you know that if they decide to kill the game, they will kill the game. You need to be at 100 per cent individually and as a team. And we did - we played as a team, in top form...

"At the Bernabeu, we took another step."

Midfielder Harry Winks agreed, saying that after last month's match, Spurs had earned Real's respect.

RESPECT

Said the 21-year-old: "They're one of the best teams in the world, so we're going to respect them - and I guess they're going to respect us as well because we played well away at the Bernabeu."

Spurs' performance against Real has intensified rumours that stars Kane, Dele Alli and manager Pochettino are coveted in the Spanish capital.

Tottenham's Argentine boss is proud of the links, telling Spanish publication Marca: "It makes me feel proud of my players because they are the ones who run, those who score goals, those who save them.

"The most beautiful thing that is happening to us is that the coaching staff, players and club see that we all grow at the same speed...

"The potential of Tottenham cannot be measured yet. It's a matter of time and of winning... We will need to win so that people recognise that Tottenham does not only play well...

"The goal is to put Tottenham in a state in which the Premier League and the Champions League can be won." - WIRE SERVICES

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