Mauricio Pochettino puzzled by lack of national pride and togetherness in England ahead of 2018 World Cup
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The Tottenham Hotspur manager reveals his disappointment when people boo English players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli
Mauricio Pochettino has warned that poking fun at the country’s best players will do little to motivate them, inspiring a sense of national pride and togetherness, when they represent England at this summer’s World Cup.
Dele Alli is regularly booed by opposition fans, while Harry Kane has become the butt of jokes on social media in recent weeks.
The Spurs striker was widely mocked for claiming a goal that was initially awarded to his team-mate Christian Eriksen at Stoke earlier this month, while PFA chairman Ben Purkiss quipped at an awards dinner that Kane “is able to score without touching the ball”.
The FA then poked fun at Kane on Twitter after last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final – an incident that particularly enraged Pochettino.
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A tweet from the official FA Cup account showed a video clip of Manchester United defender Chris Smalling saying “Harry Kane”, with a caption saying “What’s that in your pocket Chris?”.
With the World Cup less than 50 days away, Pochettino said: “It’s a little bit strange from my point of view. Both [Dele and Harry] are massive talents and they are going to defend the England national team shirt.
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“I think the people love Harry Kane or Dele Alli. It is fashion sometimes to boo or criticise like this. But yes, sometimes it is difficult to understand. It is so difficult to understand this tweet from the FA after the game.
“For me, the most important thing here in England is to try to back English players, English talent.
“Harry is going to compete in international games or the World Cup or Euros, and everyone wants to support the national team. If Harry Kane scores he is an English player, not a Tottenham player or United or Chelsea.
“Of course, when you (the fans) defend your team here, ok. I don’t think all the people need to show more respect. It’s only to show a little bit more love to them because, sure, this type of situation, like the one that happened after the game (with the FA tweet), it doesn’t help to create a good atmosphere.
“I’m sure that Harry is not happy and no-one helped him to have an unbelievable World Cup.
“When we talk about passion, when we talk about feeling you are proud to defend your country and everything, we need to be careful in the way we send messages or the way we write or give our opinion.”
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