Mauricio Pochettino waiting to see if Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane can recover from illness for Swansea City trip
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Spurs boss reveals the latest on Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama and discusses the recent improvement in Dele Alli
Harry Kane and Mousa Dembele are doubts for Tuesday’s trip to Swansea City, with the England striker being laid low by illness and the Belgium midfielder suffering a problem with his hip and groin.
Kane has scored hat-tricks in his last two matches of 2017 but could now miss Tottenham Hotspur’s first game of 2018 – although he still has four days to recover before the trip to South Wales.
“He’s ill. He’s cold, like me!” said Pochettino. “The doctor was there at his house, like with all the players when they don’t feel good. We’ll see tomorrow if he can train and be here. But it’s not a big issue.
“Today I don’t know if he’ll be available or not. We’ll see how he reacts to the treatment.”
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Dembele has endured a series of injury problems in the last seven months and is now battling another one.
The 30-year-old had surgery on his foot in May and then missed more than a month between September and October with further foot and hip problems.
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On Tuesday, Dembele limped off in the 54th minute against Southampton, and Pochettino has now revealed: “He suffered a problem in his hip and groin.
“That’s why asked to get off the pitch. Now we are assessing him. Today he’s not training with the group and he’s another doubt for Tuesday.”
The good news is that Dembele can immediately be replaced by Victor Wanyama, who has returned to full training after more than four months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Asked whether the Kenyan midfielder could face Swansea, Pochettino said: “Maybe, yes. He was involved for the last game and then was out of the squad.
“Now we have a lot of players that can be involved. We’ll see, the decision. It’s good news that he can again be training and is available to be selected.”
With the January transfer window opening on Monday, Pochettino was asked how much Kane would be worth in the current market – given Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk is joining Liverpool for £75million.
The Spurs manager replied: “It’s not good to compare. I think Harry has no price because we want him here.
“We can talk about many things but in the end it’s talk [for the sake of] talking because it’s impossible to put a price on him. He’s out of the market.
“For us, [January] is to see if there’s an opportunity to try to improve the squad and to sign some good-quality players. If it’s not possible I’m happy with my squad.”
Pochettino could bolster his ranks by recalling youngsters Cameron Carter-Vickers and Josh Onomah from their loan spells with Sheffield United and Aston Villa respectively.
He may also consider allowing full-back Kyle Walker-Peters to get some game time elsewhere, given the 20-year-old has only made four senior appearances this season.
But the Argentinian said: “We still don’t decide anything about Cameron, Josh and Kyle Walker-Peters. Still we are waiting. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks. We have until the end of January to decide.”
In the meantime Pochettino is preparing his squad for Tuesday’s visit to the Liberty Stadium, and he has been encouraged by the form of a rejuvenated Dele Alli, who scored his first goal in 11 matches against Southampton, while setting up another two.
“I think he was good. In the last few games he started to improve, and we started to recognise him as a player who achieved all he achieved in the last few seasons,” said Pochettino.
“For me there’s no doubt about him – about his quality and potential. Only because he’s a young player, sometimes he needs to breathe, he needs to take some time to again perform in the same way.
“Still, from day one when he started to play here at Tottenham and started to achieve all he achieved, I think not another young player his age achieved [that] – I think not Cristiano Ronaldo, not Lampard, not Rooney. These are massive players that we’re talking about, great players, and he achieved more than all those big names.
“The problem is the expectation. You expect from him with every touch and every action that he will make unbelievable things, but sometimes it’s not possible.”
Pochettino has cause for confidence as a new year beckons but, as he looks back over the last 12 months, one moment stands out.
“There are many good memories, but I think the last game at White Hart Lane is my favourite moment from 2017,” he said. “To finish unbeaten in the season, to say goodbye to White Hart Lane, was such an emotional day. That is my favourite day.”
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