Spurs opinion: Mauricio Pochettino’s big call on Harry Kane ahead of Champions League final
Our European season has been a roller-coaster of emotions with late goals, epic comebacks and VAR playing a huge role too.
Manchester City were put to the sword by Son Heung-min and Fernando Llorente while VAR came to our rescue, with the right decision, to chalk off Raheem Sterling’s effort.
Spurs came from 3-0 down, on aggregate, to defeat Ajax thanks to a Lucas Moura hat-trick. Both the wins came in tough circumstances but we were without possibly the best striker in the world, Harry Kane.
The Englishman has been out of action since the first leg of the quarter-final against Manchester City, however, he should be fit for the final on 1 June.
This was Kane’s second big injury of the season and Mauricio Pochettino has a huge decision to make regarding the Englishman’s role in the final.
To play or not to play?
Pochettino was speaking before the final and claimed his decision on Kane could have severe ramifications: (h/t Guardian):
“Whether to start him is a point we’re thinking about a lot. It is a decision that, one way or the other, will be judged after the game. If we win: fantastic decision. If we lose: shit decision, and you are going to kill me.”
Tottenham have done well with Son and Moura playing up top in the Champions League this season.
The South Korean is possibly our in-form attacker while Moura was the best player in our 2-1 defeat at Anfield earlier in the season.
The pair have incredible pace and we need to have quick players to deal with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, but they also need to help out in defending Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Further, Son or Moura could trouble Joel Matip with their pace as the Cameroon defender could be the weakest link in Liverpool’s defence.
However, starting with Kane cannot be ruled out if he reaches peak fitness. The English striker can make things difficult for any defence in the world, and Virgil van Dijk would not want to face the charged-up Spurs striker in the final.
The problem with playing Kane from the start is his rustiness. This is our biggest game of the season and with no first-team minutes for the club since April, there is a lot of risk in starting the Englishman in Madrid.
There is also the fear that Kane could pick up another problem if he is rushed back from injury, which has happened in the past too.
England have the Nations League finals coming up after the Champions League and Kane would want to lead the Three Lions too.
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Glory awaits Spurs on 1 June as Pochettino aims to win his first title here, and Kane’s role in the final will certainly be a talking point before and after the game.