Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino backs Rose for England

Mauricio Pochettino has backed Danny Rose to emerge as England's new first-choice left-back after speculation the Tottenham defender could turn out for Jamaica.

Rose, 24, has yet to win a full senior cap for England despite making 29 appearances for the Under-21s and is believed to be one of several Premier League players who are being targeted by Jamaica ahead of June's Copa America.

But, with Leighton Baines injured and both Luke Shaw and Kieran Gibbs having mixed seasons, Rose could find a way back into the Roy Hodgson's thinking when the squad is announced next week - having last been called up in September for fixtures against Norway and Switzerland.

Pochettino has made Rose his established left-back despite the summer signing of Ben Davies and believes the former Leeds trainee has been impressive so far this year.

"I haven't spoken to him about that," Pochettino said when asked if he thought Rose may take the chance to represent Jamaica, having qualified for selection through his grandfather.

"So far he has been the best left-back this season. His performances have been great. But they are not my decisions, it's always Roy Hodgson's decision."

Hodgson names his squad on Thursday for a European Championship qualifier at home to Lithuania and a high-profile friendly against Italy in Turin.

Whether Rose makes the cut or not remains to be seen but one Tottenham player destined for a first call-up is Harry Kane.

The 21-year-old has been named player of the month for both January and February and is the top-scoring Englishman in the Premier League having scored 16 league goals so far.

Pochettino believes his main striker is worthy of his current accolades but stopped short of calling for Kane to be named player of the season.

"So far he is a player that deserves a lot of praise," he said.

"But we have a lot of games ahead to decide who is the player of the year. I'm not surprised because of the way he works. He works very hard in training. When a striker or offensive player scores goals, it's good.

"His potential is massive and he can improve more. That is our idea, for him to improve his game every week."

Both Rose and Kane are likely to start for Sunday's trip to face fellow top-four contenders Manchester United - with Pochettino targeting a third successive Spurs victory at Old Trafford.

"We believe we can win," he said.

"You never think before a game that it is possible to lose. You are always focusing on getting the three points and are never thinking about losing.

"Our pressure is inside us, in the group. We want to win every game. Maybe Manchester United has history, but our mentality is to compete and try to win the game. Man United is not my problem."

Rose has flourished under Pochettino in much the same way Shaw did when the pair worked together at Southampton last season.

A big-money summer move to Old Trafford looked to be the next step on a career trajectory set to end in plenty of success.

Instead, Shaw has struggled to hold down a place in Louis van Gaal's side with fitness and form both stunting his development.

"It is not for me to analyse Luke Shaw," Pochettino said when asked if Shaw was not as good this season as last.

"I can only explain my experience with him. But every player changes every year and now it is not me who is the manager to explain about him or what his reality is now. I never give my opinion because it is difficult to speak about players at other clubs.

"Our experience with Luke Shaw was fantastic last season but now he's in another context and at another club. You have to realise that player change every year, just like we change because every year is different as things happen in our lives. Managers and players at different clubs, it's difficult to compare."

Shaw was hauled off at half-time in United's 2-1 FA Cup sixth-round defeat to Arsenal on Monday and will now be battling to keep his place in the side for the visit of Spurs.

Rose on the other hand is almost certain to start for the away side, with Pochettino keen to stress the improvements are mostly down to the player himself.

"No, no, it's Danny," he said when asked if he had made Rose into a player he considered the best left-back in the division.

"It's our job to compare our players with other players in the same position and we believe that Danny Rose has so far been the best English left-back."

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