Antonio Conte has played down concerns over Harry Kane’s fitness levels for the World Cup, after saying on Wednesday the England captain was “very, very tired” after starting 21 straight games for Tottenham.
The Spurs manager backed the striker to enjoy a ‘fantastic’ tournament and defended his decision to continue playing against Kane during a series of domestic fixtures. “It’s very difficult to make the decision to bench him,” Conte said. “We are talking about a player with great experience in managing his body.”
Kane was taken off an hour into the midweek Carabao Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest and Conte revealed afterwards that the 29-year-old battled fatigue during a training session on Tuesday. Despite this, the Italian insists he has no concerns for Kane ahead of Saturday’s visit to Leeds, or for England’s campaign in Qatar.
“I think and I’m sure Harry is going to play a fantastic World Cup because this season he’s never been injured, he’s had the chance to do a good training session and he’s good physically,” added Tale. “The fans shouldn’t worry about him. After this game, they [England] He has a week, eight days to prepare for the World Cup, but he is ready because he is working very well.
Conte had planned to rest Kane at some point during a run of 13 games in 43 days, but injuries to Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Son Heung-min left Tottenham short of attacking options. The former Italy manager also warned Gareth Southgate that Kane “wants to play every game. It’s important to me because it means he feels good. He wants to finish well with us. Tottenham are at the top of his thoughts until saturday [night].”
“He’s the captain of England, the most representative player, we’re talking about a very good striker in the world,” Conte continued. “[The World Cup] is a big competition, the biggest in the world and he has a great desire to do something special for his national team, but they have to do it after the [Leeds] Game.
“When you’re a player like Harry who gives you everything in every game, it’s very difficult to put him on the bench or give him a rest because [of] his desire, and his eyes are full of energy.
Conte’s deal with Tottenham expires at the end of the season, although the club would have an option to trigger a 12-month extension. The manager sees no need to discuss the terms urgently, but said the January transfer window will be a key topic of discussion with the club’s hierarchy.
“In my opinion, it is important for me professionally [that] I have to feel that I deserve to have a new contract with this club. I have to feel that. But of course we will speak with the club and we will find the best solution,” Conte said. “It always depends on the possibilities of the club and also on the ambition, but for sure we will talk.”
Conte added that conversations with chairman Daniel Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici have been “good”, but suggested talks about “realistic ambitions” for the club are needed. “So far we have worked only with this objective to improve ourselves, and to find a good way to bring this club to be competitive,” he added.
“For this reason, it will be very important to talk [and] understand very well what is the realistic possibility for us, what are the realistic ambitions for the club, because I think the truth is very important. If you know the truth, you can work to find the best solution for the future.