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Mauricio Pochettino gives Harry Kane thumbs-up for England action

Published 06/11/2016

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham earned a point at Arsenal
Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham earned a point at Arsenal

Mauricio Pochettino said Harry Kane has his blessing to join up with England after the striker's goal earned Tottenham a 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

Kane was handed a surprise start at the Emirates Stadium after seven weeks out with an ankle ligament injury and he justified his manager's faith with a second-half equaliser from the penalty spot.

Kane's fifth goal in as many games against the Gunners helped Spurs maintain their unbeaten run in the Premier League after Kevin Wimmer's own-goal had earlier put the home side ahead.

Kane certainly showed signs of rust and he came off after 72 minutes - but his contribution paved the way for an international return, as he was named in Gareth Southgate's squad later on Sunday.

England play Scotland in a World Cup qualifier on Friday before hosting a friendly against Spain four days later.

"Can he be in the England squad? I think yes," Pochettino said after the match. "Now the doctor is assessing him but I think it is not a problem."

The interim England manager also named Kyle Walker in his squad, despite the full-back limping off in Sunday's north London derby.

However, there was no place for Dele Alli, who twisted his knee in training on Saturday and will miss both England fixtures after Pochettino earlier said he expected the midfielder to be out for "a few weeks".

The Spurs boss explained: "D ele suffered a minor problem in his knee. He clashed doing tactics yesterday and twisted his knee a little bit. It's a minor, minor problem but impossible he could be available today."

Pochettino agreed Kane's presence gave his side an "emotional lift" but the striker's selection was not the only surprise as Tottenham started in an unfamiliar 3-4-2-1 formation.

It was a bold move that just about paid off for the visitors, who recovered their assurance at the back after a shaky display against Bayer Leverkusen and created more chances going forward.

They are still without a win in seven matches but should be better placed after the international break if, as expected, Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela all complete recoveries from injury.

"Today you need to be flexible," Pochettino said of his new system.

"In the last month we've had some small problems and we always need to adapt our system and our game.

"Today we worked a lot to try to find better solutions in the offensive area and tried to play thinking about the opposite goal, higher up with two strikers and one offensive player in behind to create chances and win the game."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insisted Tottenham's formation did not unsettle his players.

"We know how to play against a back three, we knew they could play with a back three," Wenger said.

"That was not the basic problem."

The Gunners finished both halves the stronger but lacked their usual precision in the final third. Mesut Ozil was influential again but Alexis Sanchez, in particular, was noticeably quiet.

"We were quite dangerous in the first half and created dangerous situations in the second," Wenger said.

"We gave everything but were not as sharp physically as we can be in the final part of the game."

Laurent Koscielny was at fault for giving away the penalty as the Frenchman's clumsy challenge sent Mousa Dembele to the ground.

Dembele's impressive display moved Pochettino to describe him as "a genius" but Wenger believed the penalty was soft.

"I think the penalty was harsh," Wenger said. "It didn't look dangerous to score, it didn't look like a deliberate foul."

Wenger also felt Spurs midfielder Victor Wanyama was fortunate to stay on the pitch after committing a number of fouls, including one that saw the Kenyan catch Theo Walcott in the face with his arm.

"He was very lucky to stay on the pitch today of course," Wenger said.

"A few fouls, the elbow on Walcott for example, but the referee makes decisions and we have to cope with that.

"Nobody stopped us from scoring a second goal, which we didn't do."

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