Pochettino says captaincy a good fit for ‘natural leader’ Kane
Upbeat manager convinced Tottenham are ready to produce improved performances
Harry Kane: England captain has now taken over a similar role at club level with Spurs. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Kane, who has worn the armband at England level since May of last year, will captain his club in the absence of Hugo Lloris, who dislocated an elbow at Brighton two weeks ago. Lloris is not expected to return to training before the end of the year.
Kane was praised for the maturity he showed on Monday when England twice stopped the play in their Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia after racist abuse.
Pochettino believes Kane, who already shoulders the burden of being relied on to score Spurs’s goals, will not be concerned by the pressure to lead them out of their slump. The team have won three matches this season and face Watford today with memories fresh of the 7-2 hammering by Bayern Munich and the 3-0 defeat at Brighton.
“Harry has become a natural leader,” Pochettino said.
“We will miss Hugo for a few months and to have Harry step up is important. He does not need to feel too much pressure, just to act natural. When you do that, if you are a natural leader, you don’t feel the responsibility. The problem is if you need to act. If you are not a real leader and you need to act, you spend energy thinking: ‘How do I need to face this problem?’”
The international break appears to have revitalised Pochettino, who projected positivity as he reflected on his involvement in Thursday’s “boxes” drill in training.
“I am flying,” he said. “I played boxes for 10, 12 minutes and how many times did I go inside? Not one time. Who was with me? Toby, Jan, Tanguy, Moussa Sissoko, Davinson Sánchez, Foyth, Harry Kane, Winks, Serge Aurier and Skippy [Oliver Skipp].
“The key is to provide the team with togetherness, calm, and to believe in them. To want to play, you need to feel freedom, to play with happiness, fight and energy. The most important is to not think of the consequences. I think our performance is going to be back again. We’re going to find a way to win games. Winning is the best medicine for everyone.”