LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino has suggested that Harry Kane could start in tomorrow's north London Premier League derby against Arsenal.
The striker, who has been out with ankle ligament damage since the middle of September, has long been slated to make his comeback in the Emirates Stadium game.
Earlier in the week, Pochettino was more inclined to use Kane as a substitute. But he returned to full training on Thursday, and it was clear that the striker had given his manager something to think about.
"Harry will be in the squad," Pochettino said. "I can confirm he will be available to be selected and then, I need to decide whether to start him or put him on the bench.
"I am happy after Thursday. He had a very good training session. He is fit.
"Always, Harry is important. In the last two seasons, he has been very important for us; he was the top scorer in the Premier League. For us, it's very good news. It's good that he will be back."
NOT HURRYING HARRY BACK
It's not a risk to play him. I have been at the club for 21/2 years and we always try to avoid any risks.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO , Tottenham manager, on star striker Harry Kane's availability.
Kane has scored in each of the previous three league derbies against Arsenal, including two in the 2-1 home win in February last year. His return stands to offer an emotional fillip and Pochettino insisted that there was no risk attached to his involvement.
"It's not a risk to play him," the Tottenham manager said.
"I have been at the club for 21/2 years and we always try to avoid any risks. If Harry is on the pitch or on the bench, it's because we're sure that it's not a risk to play him.
"In football, you can't avoid all the risk because it's a contact sport but, if the doctor said he is available to be selected, it's because there is no risk of injury."
Pochettino reported that Toby Alderweireld will miss the game, as he continued his recovery from a knee problem, while Erik Lamela is a doubt with a hip injury.
"Toby is struggling a little bit to recover, but will for sure be available after the international break. He's not included in the squad for Belgium now," said the Argentinian. "He's very close but it was a very slow recovery, a very painful thing that happened."
Mousa Dembele is a doubt after twisting his ankle in Wednesday's Champions League 0-1 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
Pochettino said the Belgium international would be assessed today before a decision is made.
Tottenham may boast the Premier League's lone remaining unbeaten record and are just three points off top spot, but they have not won any of their last six games in all competitions.
Pochettino believes his side may be paying the price for fighting on two fronts, saying: "To play the Champions League and Premier League, two of the toughest competitions in the world, it's good to analyse how we deal with that."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS