New Tottenham Hotspur caretaker Ryan Mason will be without one of his biggest stars when he takes the dugout for the first time this evening…
The 29-year-old was appointed on a temporary basis until the end of the season following the shock departure of Jose Mourinho earlier this week, and he’s been thrown straight into the deep end as his side host Southampton in the Premier League.
His task of picking up a result will be made harder as he’ll be without the services of leading talisman Harry Kane, according to Dan Kilpatrick at the Evening Standard.
Top goalscorer Kane hobbled off with an ankle injury after bagging himself a brace to rescue a draw against Everton at the weekend, and even though he left Goodison Park without the help of a protective boot or crutches, he has not featured in training since.
Kilpatrick confirmed that he would miss tonight’s encounter and that he is now a serious doubt for their Carabao Cup final on Sunday afternoon, too.
In terms of potentially disastrous starts, this would surely be up there for Mason as he’ll have to go into battle, in the midst of the recent negativity off the pitch and the need to pick up results, without his leading talisman.
Spurs’ reliance on Kane cannot be understated, whatsoever.
The 27-year-old has scored 21 goals in the Premier League this season, seven more than the next best, Heung-min Son (14), and then when you factor in his squad-leading 13 assists it means he has accounted for a whopping 63% of all Spurs’ goals scored in the English top-flight.
His importance to the side was emphasised last season, in particular. In his absence from the start of the year, the north London outfit would go onto drop out of the Champions League, the race for the top four and all domestic cup competitions.
They’ve very much done the same this season under Mourinho and with Kane, but as they sit just five points behind fourth-place going into kickoff, there’s every chance that Mason could lead them into European contention once again.
Though those chances have now been dealt a huge blow as the task is even harder without the England skipper.
It also leaves Mason with an instant dilemma – does he trust Carlos Vinicius, who Mourinho regularly snubbed from Premier League selection, or will one of Son or Gareth Bale lead the line instead?
Either way, none of the trio are as prolific and important as Kane, so it will be interesting to see how the newly-appointed caretaker reacts to this worst nightmare.
AND in other news, Fresh twist emerges in Julian Nagelsmann pursuit, Levy will be fuming…