Champions League final: Should Harry Kane start for Tottenham?
- Mauricio Pochettino has a huge call to make with his XI, but should a fit-again Harry Kane lead the line for Tottenham against Liverpool?
Harry Kane faces an anxious wait to see if he will be included in the Tottenham team for the Champions League final.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday's final in Madrid, Mauricio Pochettino indicated it will be "painful" to have to decide whether to play Kane, who will hope to have proven his fitness sufficiently in training.
Kane is Tottenham's talisman, but he has not played since injuring his ankle in the first leg of the quarter-final against Manchester City in early April.
The England captain's availability is a massive boost for Spurs' chances of winning their maiden Champions League title - but should he be in their starting XI? Two Omnisport writers offer opposing views to the big question ahead of the game.
Kane should be benched - Jamie Smith
Pochettino faces an unenviable call, but the right move would be for Kane to be named among the substitutes.
Kane often takes time to reach full speed after an injury and the Champions League final is not the place for him to feel his way back into action.
Neither would it be fair for one of Spurs' heroes from the semi-final against Ajax to be left out for someone who played no part in that remarkable comeback.
Lucas Moura would be the most likely player to drop out for Kane but, without the Brazilian's stunning hat-trick in Amsterdam, Spurs would not have made it to Madrid.
It is not just a question of fairness, either. Liverpool will press their opponents and Tottenham need to do the same, as they did in unsettling City in that epic quarter-final.
Kane is a brilliant striker, probably the best number nine in the world, but Lucas and Son Heung-min are better equipped for this role.
And what an asset Kane would be for Pochettino to use in the second half if Spurs need a goal.
Mauricio on team selection: "It’s not going to be easy to make a decision tomorrow and every game you need to take a decision. Tomorrow we will have all the information and we will take the best decision to try to win."#UCLfinal ⚪️ #COYS pic.twitter.com/XkIeBg17uK— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 31, 2019
Kane must start - Ben Spratt
This is surely the best chance Tottenham will ever get to win the Champions League, potentially making it Kane's best opportunity to triumph, too.
Having won the Golden Boot in the Premier League twice, as well as last year's World Cup in Russia, he will be itching to prove himself in the biggest club match of all.
If Kane was 100 per cent fit, there would be no question over his role. And he may well be healthy, given that it has been almost two months since he went down with injury.
Either way, Spurs are facing a Liverpool side who have demonstrated in a pair of Premier League matches that they are stronger than Pochettino's men, who need all the help they can get to upset the odds.
Kane is likely to feature at some stage, whether from the start or as a substitute, so why wait until the closing stages to introduce a highly motivated, incredibly talented scorer?
Tottenham's best results this season have come in chaotic contests where goals have gone in at both ends. Think back to those second legs against Manchester City and Ajax.
Such a thrilling approach would only be more effective with a clinical Kane in the side.