Belfast Telegraph

I will return from latest injury woe better than before: Kane

Sore point: Harry Kane is injured in a tackle with Fabian Delph
Sore point: Harry Kane is injured in a tackle with Fabian Delph
Jan Vertonghen

By Jonathan Veal

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has vowed to come back "stronger than ever" after his latest injury setback.

Kane suffered his fifth ankle problem in two and a half years and second of 2019 during his side's 1-0 Champions League quarter-final first-leg win over Manchester City on Tuesday.

The England captain is expected to have a scan today, but boss Mauricio Pochettino is concerned that Kane's season could be over.

Kane tweeted: "Gutted to go off injured but every setback is a chance to come back stronger than ever. Big finish from the boys to go on and win!"

Spurs were drawing 0-0 when Kane twisted his ankle during a challenge with Three Lions team-mate Fabian Delph. It immediately looked serious as Kane was unable to put any weight on his left foot and was helped down the tunnel, later leaving the ground on crutches and with the joint in a brace.

Pochettino admitted that the injury could well end the England striker's season, which would be a massive blow to the club's hopes of Champions League progression and also qualification for next year, with Spurs still locked in a top-four battle.

The Argentinian said: "It is so painful. We hope it is not a big issue and try to recover as soon as possible but it doesn't look good."

England manager Gareth Southgate is also likely to be on the phone to see whether his captain will be available for the Uefa Nations League finals in June.

The Spurs talisman appears susceptible to ligament damage whenever he rolls or impacts his ankle in a challenge, though he does have an impressive recovery rate.

In each of the last three incidents, Kane recovered ahead of schedule and earlier this year - aided by a spell in the Bahamas - he returned two weeks sooner than expected.

That will give Spurs hope, but Pochettino will have to prepare to be without his top scorer for the remainder of the season.

Spurs will look to Son Heung-min to step into the spotlight and the South Korean did not take long to do it as he hit the winner in the 1-0 win against City after Kane went off.

Son took centre stage during Kane's last absence, scoring four goals in four games, while Fernando Llorente is highly likely to get a run out against already-relegated Huddersfield on Saturday.

Meanwhile, defender Jan Vertonghen accepts the art of defending will have to adapt to VAR after the latest controversy on Tuesday.

City were awarded a penalty in the 13th minute when Raheem Sterling's shot hit Danny Rose's arm. Nobody appealed and it was only after the VAR official advised Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers to take a look that the spot-kick was given.

Although Rose's arm was outstretched, by no means was the handball intentional, but under Uefa's directive it had to be given.

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris ensured that it was not a potential decisive moment as he saved Sergio Aguero's tame effort.

"No one expected it. They didn't even appeal for it so it was extremely weird to concede a penalty like this," Vertonghen said. "That's VAR. In a way it's good. I'm not always a fan but at the end everyone will benefit from it.

"But it can happen for us as well. If we got a penalty in this way I would be very happy.

"Football is an emotional game, and VAR is changing that a bit. So many things look like a penalty in slow motion. I think we have to change the way we defend."

Meanwhile, Spurs could be handed a €5,000 (£4,300) fine by Uefa after a supporter ran onto the pitch towards the end of the game.

They confronted City defender Fabian Delph before being ushered away by stewards.

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