Belfast Telegraph

Harry Kane responds to critics as Pochettino backs him to be ready for World Cup

Striker Kane scored the second goal in a 2-0 victory over the Hornets.

Harry Kane answered his critics with a goal in Tottenham’s Premier League win over Watford before boss Mauricio Pochettino insisted he would be raring to go for England at the World Cup.

Striker Kane scored the second goal in a 2-0 victory over the Hornets at Wembley to move Spurs closer to securing a top-four Premier League finish.

The 24-year-old was mocked by the FA Cup’s official Twitter feed last week following Manchester United’s semi-final win, something boss Mauricio Pochettino called “embarrassing”, and the England striker responded the only way he knows how by banging in his 27th league goal of the season.

Kane netted after the break, following Dele Alli’s first-half opener, to give on-looking England boss Gareth Southgate plenty to smile about.

The striker has also faced jokes at his expense after he claimed a goal, originally credited to Christian Eriksen, in a recent win at Stoke.

An ankle injury has also affected Kane in recent weeks but Pochettino believes he will be firing on all cylinders by the time the Three Lions begin their World Cup against Tunisia on June 18.

Asked if Kane could play himself back to 100% before the tournament, Pochettino replied: “Yes of course.

“He’s a strong guy and physically and mentally. I am sure that, first of all, he will perform for us and no doubt he will arrive in very good condition for the World Cup.

“He needs to improve his performance still but I’m happy, 150 games, 105 goals, what more can we say, he is a fantastic striker.

“It wasn’t a great period for him in the last last few weeks, he’s human like anyone and a little bit affected but with the help of everyone he’s doing well.”

Spurs eased to victory but had to rely on Hugo Lloris to keep out Watford on a number of occasions.

The France international was praised by Pochettino after the win as Lloris’ display extended the Hornets’ woeful away form.

Javi Gracia took charge at Vicarage Road on January 21 and has yet to see his side score an away goal since his arrival.

Watford have now taken just two points from their last seven league games and, although highly unlikely, they could still be dragged into a battle for survival.

Gracia, however, is only looking up in the table and targeting the club’s best-ever Premier League finish.

They would need seven points to equal the 45 points achieved in 2015/16 but that is what the Spaniard is now aiming for with just three games remaining.

“If you ask me about the position in the table, my target is to improve and get the best position for this club we can. I prefer to be optimistic. The next game will be important for us,” he said.

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