Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has urged interim England manager Gareth Southgate to adopt a similarly cautious approach to Harry Kane’s fitness after confirming the striker will not feature against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
Despite being ruled out of the crucial Champions League showdown at Wembley Stadium, Kane is expected to return from an ankle injury in time for Sunday’s north London derby at Emirates Stadium.
That is the final fixture before the international break, which sees England face Scotland in a World Cup qualifier and Spain in a friendly, and Pochettino has made it clear that he would prefer Kane not to be handed a call up.
“If I select him to play on Sunday against Arsenal, we open the door for the national team to select him too,” said Pochettino, whose side are winless in five matches.
“If he is available for Sunday and the doctor says he can, I think we are not stupid to keep Harry out to try to protect him. Maybe it makes more sense for the national team to say ‘okay, stay at Tottenham’, but if they want him to play we cannot stop it.
“We are pro-national team for all players. If Gareth calls me and asks for my opinion then I will give my advice but I will not call him. He is the manager of the national team.”
Like Kane, centre-half Toby Alderweireld is back in training but will not play against Leverkusen, who are currently 10th in the Bundesliga, while Erik Lamela is also a doubt after suffering a hip injury.
Spurs sit second in Group E, one point adrift of leaders Monaco and one clear of Leverkusen, and Pochettino is confident his players will feel more confident with Wembley than during their 2-1 defeat to the French side.
“After Monaco, it was all new for us,” added Pochettino. “The changing room was different, the places for the families, the supporters. Now it will not be completely different, and I hope it will be completely different on the result.”