Mauricio Pochettino, by starting Harry Kane unremittingly regardless of the occasion, is a playing an exceedingly dangerous, yet necessary game.
Pochettino’s decision to start Harry Kane was once again proven correct, with Spurs’ precious asset scoring Spurs’ only goal against Newport County, delivering an FA Cup stay of execution. One question, unanswerable in nature, is whether Kane would have come up with the goods had he come on from the bench.
It’s a question that could stoke an endless debate among Spurs supporters. The more meaningful question, though, is when, if ever, will Pochettino rest his leading man.
If Pochettino can’t afford to rest him against a team of Newport County’s negligible pedigree, then when will Kane be able to recharge a battery that will, sooner or later, start to deplete.
It’s obvious the gaffer has no trust in Fernando Llorente, and who can blame him? The Spaniard has been an abomination since signing for Spurs in the summer. The argument that Llorente hasn’t been provided the platform to succeed is no longer valid. That ship has long since left the dock.
His listless, beggared performance against Newport is further proof of his inadequacy. Which leaves Pochettino with an unrelenting quagmire. While youthful and vibrant, Kane, like any other professional footballer, is not entirely indefatigable. And with compounding wear and tear comes increased susceptibility to injury.
Regarding Kane, I’m not sold on Pochettino’s ride-it-until-the-wheels-come-off mantra. The overt lack of strategy is palpable, caused solely because of an absence of viable alternatives.
No rest forthcoming for Kane
I can’t envision Kane being rested any time soon, so hopefully he’s able to maintain his present otherworldly form devoid of a rest in the run in. Jostling for a top four spot in the Premier League, combined with a Champions League round of 16 tie with Juventus, guarantees Kane’s interminable on-field presence.
The potential of burnout, with playing two games a week, even for a 24-year-old at peak fitness, increases considerably.
But maybe Pochettino knows something the rest of us don’t. If Kane starts in the Wembley replay against Newport on Feb. 7, a match sandwiched between playing Liverpool and Arsenal and less than a week before facing Juventus, my suspicions of him being from another planet will be confirmed.
And if that’s the case, Gareth Southgate can rest easy knowing England’s only hope of winning the World Cup is immune to a human’s imperfections.
(This piece originally featured on Tottenham HQ. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)