Alli may spearhead Tottenham in Kane's absence

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino could use Dele Alli as a "false nine" to address Tottenham's problems up front in light of striker Harry Kane's ankle injury.

Spurs travel to Fulham today and are expected to be without three forwards for their Premier League encounter at Craven Cottage.

Kane, who was voted England Player of the Year by fans on Friday, will be out until March, while Son Heung-min is playing for South Korea at the Asian Cup.

Pochettino will not be able to call on his top and second-highest scorers with 14 and eight league goals this season respectively, as well as midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who has a groin strain.

To compound matters further, forward Lucas Moura is unlikely to return from a knee problem, while back-up striker Fernando Llorente has not started a league game since Spurs beat Swansea a year ago.

Pochettino does not want Kane's absence to be seen as an excuse if the team do not perform today.

He said: "We have players who can cover his position. It won't affect our approach to games."

With Spurs unlikely to dip into the January market for a short-term fix, Pochettino has pin-pointed midfielder Alli as having the intelligence to fill in for Kane.

"You can play Dele Alli, (Erik) Lamela. It's not that you have to play with one specific striker," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 20, 2019, with the headline 'Alli may spearhead Tottenham in Kane's absence'. Print Edition | Subscribe