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Spurs boost as Kane declares: I will be fit for final showdown

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane during the training session at Enfield Training Ground, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Tottenham. Photo credit should read: Paul Harding/PA Wire
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane during the training session at Enfield Training Ground, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Tottenham. Photo credit should read: Paul Harding/PA Wire

By Jonathan Liew

Harry Kane has given his clearest indication yet that he will be fit to face Liverpool in Saturday’s Champions League final, insisting that he would be ready to play even if the game took place tomorrow night.

Kane has not featured for Spurs for almost two months, since injuring his left ankle in the first leg of the quarter-final against Manchester City in early April.

But along with Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Harry Winks, he returned to training towards the end of last week, and at Tottenham’s official media day ahead of their journey to Madrid, he described himself as “ready to go”.

“I feel good,” said Kane.

“I started to feel my way back with the team at the end of last week. There have been no problems so far. For me, this week now is about getting the fitness as high as possible.

Then it’s down to the manager. He will assess it and decide whether I’m ready to go or not. But so far, I feel good and ready.”

Asked whether he would be ready to play if the game were tomorrow night, Kane replied: “Yeah. I did a lot of work on my own to get me into a good place to go back with the team. Since I’ve been with them, I’ve been full training, doing everything.

“I’m at a place now where I’m ready to go for any game. But again, it’s down to the manager.”

Coach Mauricio Pochettino also described Kane’s progress as “very positive”, although he stopped short of guaranteeing his participation on Saturday.

“We have one week ahead to see how he is progressing in his problem,” Pochettino said.

“It’s so important that he feels well. We’ll see what happens. I cannot say if he’ll be 100 per cent fit or starting, or on the bench or out. But we are so, so positive and happy with the progression.”

The fact that this is Kane’s fifth ankle injury in three years has led some to wonder aloud whether it might be a sign of a recurring problem, or perhaps even emblematic of a wider physical decline linked to his heavy workload over the last four seasons.

But with Kane scheduled to join England’s Nations League squad immediately after Saturday’s final, he moved to allay these fears, arguing that most of his injuries had been through contact rather than wear and tear.

“When you look at the injuries, a lot of them have been tackles,” he said. “I’ve been unfortunate, but of course when something happens four or five times you always look to see if there are any improvements to be made.

“That will be my goal over the off-season, and of course to carry on being fit and to strengthen the ankle as much as possible. We’ve got three games coming up in this short period, and then probably four weeks off.”

Kane also discussed the mixed emotions of watching Tottenham qualify for the Champions League final in his absence, via a stunning injury-time winner against Ajax and before that a thrilling away-goals triumph over Manchester City that saw a late Raheem Sterling goal ruled out by VAR.

“It’s so hard watching as a fan because you’ve got no control,” he said. “The City game I was watching at home with one of my friends and my dad, and the emotions were just crazy.

“When Raheem scored, one of my mates just left the room. Then all of a sudden we were crawling back. It was just crazy.

“For the Ajax game, I was there in the stands surrounded by Ajax fans. The first half, of course there was loads of cheering. Slowly it started to change, and right at the end I said to Davinson (Sanchez), ‘Let’s go down and be with the team’ as it looked like the whistle was going to go.

“All of a sudden we scored, and we jumped down and sprinted down the tunnel to be there. An amazing experience.”

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