Mauricio Pochettino says Harry Kane will determine his own future

Harry Kane's fine form has seen him become one of the most highly sought players on the planet
Updated 07 February 2018
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Mauricio Pochettino says Harry Kane will determine his own future

LONDON: Harry Kane is happy at Tottenham Hotspur but only the star striker can answer questions regarding his long-term commitment to the Premier League club, manager Mauricio Pochettino said.
Kane is very much the man of the moment, having scored his 100th Premier League goal in the 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Sunday. But the nerves of Spurs fans would have been tested by his admission that winning trophies was his priority.
The 24-year-old signed a deal to remain at Tottenham until 2022, but when asked about Kane’s long-term future, Pochettino said: “That is a question for him, not me. Of course, he wants to score goals and win titles but I cannot say anything more about this.”
Kane has attracted huge interest from major European clubs in recent months, with Real Madrid’s former president Ramon Calderon stating in October that he expected the Spanish club to try to sign the forward.
“He is so happy here and he loves Tottenham but this is a personal question, regarding what he thinks and how he feels. I cannot answer for him,” Pochettino added.
Real are the favorites to sign Kane, should the Spurs striker desire a move away from North London. There is much speculation that the side from the Spanish capital are looking at Kane to be a key part of their team once 31-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo moves on. That move was given extra credence with Ryan Giggs claiming that Gareth Bale’s success at Real Madrid could persuade Kane to do the same.
Los Blancos star Bale has won three Champions League titles since he swapped White Hart Lane for the Bernabeu. And the new Wales coach said it would only be natural for Kane to look to do the same.
“When a player goes to a team where they are going to be competing for leagues and trophies then you go up another level, but winning things with a club where you’ve come through the ranks is different and more special, so you’d prefer to do that, especially with a brilliant manager and the new stadium coming,” Giggs said.
“He (Kane) might also be looking abroad, and maybe seeing what Gareth Bale has achieved in winning three Champions League titles with Real Madrid.”


Result against Brazil doesn’t matter, says Argentina legend Mario Kempes

Updated 16 October 2018
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Result against Brazil doesn’t matter, says Argentina legend Mario Kempes

  • Argentina legend admits side is in transition and says the performance matters more than the result.
  • Argentina likely to be changed from the side that thrashed Iraq 4-0 on Thursday.

LONDON: Argentina legend and 1978 World Cup winner Mario Kempes said the Albiceleste must focus on building a team as they take on Brazil in a friendly on Tuesday in Jeddah. 

“The game against Brazil is important because I wouldn’t attribute too much importance to the result, but rather focus on how you can form a good team,” Kempes told Arab News.

“It is a new team, it is a new coach. For me, the result isn’t interesting, but the development and the performance of the players are.”

On Friday, Argentina thumped a hapless Iraq 4-0 with a dominant display as Lautaro Martinez, Roberto Pereyra, German Pezzella and Franco Cervi all beat Iraqi goalkeeper Jalal Hassan to ensure a resounding victory.

The South Americans fielded an experimental side without star players Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain, but overcame a defensive opponent in the second half following the introductions of Eduardo Salvio and Santiago Ascacibar, the substitutes allowing Argentina to play more direct. 

“It was important to win in this new chapter with new players and a new coach,” Kempes explained.

“These are players that haven’t really been long with in the squad of the national team and that is why it was significant to beat Iraq.” 

Brazil will provide Argentina with a first stern test after a disappointing World Cup in Russia, where they exited the tournament 4-3 at the hands eventual champions France in the second round. Argentina’s interim coach Lionel Scaloni, who took over from Jorge Sampaoli, has confirmed that only Sergio Romero, Pezzella and Paulo Dybala will be retained from the Iraq friendly, with the coach pondering Atletico Madrid’s Angelo Correa as a replacement for Martinez. 

In the final third Scaloni will count on Mauro Icardi. The Inter Milan striker, who has endured a lackluster start to the Serie A season, debuted for Argentina in a 2013 World Cup qualifier, but never established himself in the squad. It was rumored that Messi was behind Icardi’s exclusion from the team over personal entanglements. Icardi also did not make the final squad for the this summer’s World Cup. 

“Icardi hasn’t had a great past with Argentina, because he couldn’t show himself much,” said Kempes. “I think that Icardi should always be in the squad. He played only against Uruguay and later he wasn’t called up again. This time he gets a new chance and he has to size it.” 

Whatever impact Icardi may have against Brazil, the striker will not camouflage the glaring absence of Argentina’s superstar and talisman Lionel Messi, but Kempes, who scored two goals in the 1978 World Cup final against the Netherlands to secure Argentina’s maiden world title and today commentates for ESPN, believes this is a chance for Argentina to plant the seeds for a new team and rebuild. 

“You need a competitive team, a team that doesn’t simply depend on Messi,” the 64-year-old said.

“The team and Messi played together for practically 10 years and it is a pity that Argentina never won anything. Good, a change is needed from all, but not from Messi. I think Messi wants or needs rest. You need to give him rest and he may return fresher. Let us first find a team that plays without Messi. Once you have that team, you can play Messi again. Why? Because he is going to make the difference.” 

Messi’s national team future remains in doubt, but Argentina will look to next year’s Copa America in Brazil as a benchmark to measure progress. In 2015 and 2016 the Argentineans were on the wrong end of the last two continental finals when Chile prevailed twice on penalties after goalless draws, but Kempes sees next year’s tournament being a more transitional one for the Albiceleste.

He said: “I believe that Argentina has to use the Copa America in the sense of informing the team about big games when you will form a team, and not to win the tournament.

“Argentina can play a good role, seeking a balance between the players on the field.”