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Mauricio Pochettino hoping Mousa Dembele’s injury isn’t a big problem, but Spurs midfielder won’t face Huddersfield Town

PUBLISHED: 14:08 28 September 2017

Borussia Dortmund's Jeremy Toljan (left) and Tottenham Hotspur's Mousa Dembele (right) battle for the ball (pic: Nick Potts/PA Images).

Borussia Dortmund's Jeremy Toljan (left) and Tottenham Hotspur's Mousa Dembele (right) battle for the ball (pic: Nick Potts/PA Images).

PA Archive/PA Images

Belgium international picked up ankle issue against Barnsley recently and won’t feature again for Tottenham Hotspur this month

Mauricio Pochettino admits he is unsure when Mousa Dembele will be fit to return from his ankle injury.

The Belgian, who underwent surgery in a bid to solve a long-standing foot problem in May, reported after this month’s League Cup game against Barnsley that he had an ankle problem.

He has missed Spurs’ subsequent two matches and has also been ruled out for Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield.

“It’s sure for Saturday it’s impossible for him to play,” said Pochettino. “I haven’t seen him today because he’s not here. We hope it won’t be a big problem but I think he needs time to recover.”

Asked if the midfielder could be facing a longer period on the sidelines than was initially expected, Pochettino said: “I don’t know. We need more information, to speak with the doctor and then see what happens in the next few weeks.”

Christian Eriksen is expected to be fit for this weekend’s trip to the John Smith’s Stadium, however, after recovering from the illness that forced him to miss Tuesday’s Champions League match against Apoel Nicosia in Cyprus.

“Today he showed us good energy,” said Pochettino. “Maybe he’s not 100 per cent today but we hope tomorrow he will feel good and will be available for us to select if we want. I don’t believe it will be a big issue for the next game.”

Eriksen was involved in all three of Spurs’ goals when they won 3-2 at West Ham on Saturday, and Jan Vertonghen stated after the game that he believes the Dane to be one of the best playmakers in the world.

Pochettino said: “From day one when we arrived here at Tottenham he was a very important player, very consistent in his performance. I am so happy after three seasons with him.

“For me, in his position, he’s one of the best. He’s a player that fits very well for our philosophy. I’m so happy.

“Like we say with Harry [Kane], he’s so young, and always we believe the players can improve. I think he can improve a lot, but like Harry they’re showing very good performances every week.”

Glenn Hoddle said this week that Kane, who has scored nine goals in his last five games for Spurs, can become the club’s “greatest striker”.

“I agree with Glenn, who is a legend here,” said Pochettino. “Who better to assess Harry? I agree. For me, Harry is so young still.

“I told you in Cyprus, for me he is one of the best strikers in the world. He can improve. With his potential and how he is as a professional, he has a gap to improve a lot.

“I think all the praise and the words I can use today to describe Harry Kane, it’s so difficult to find more words.

“I never said he was better than Cristiano [Ronaldo] – it’s a good opportunity to clarify. Cristiano Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi are a different level, they are the best. They’ve shown in the last five or 10 years, they are another level.

“I never compared him with Cristiano Ronaldo, I only want to say he is one of the best in the world, Harry Kane, because he’s showing that.

“We cannot put such pressure on Harry because he’s still so young. Then Messi and Cristiano have completely different styles to Harry.

“Harry is a striker, a killer. They are killers too but in different positions, with different styles to Harry. It will not help Harry to start comparing him to this type of player.”

Asked how Kane ranks alongside the Premier League’s top forwards, Pochettino said:

“It’s a tricky question. If you ask Conte then Morata is the best. If you ask Guardiola, it’s Aguero or Jesus. If you ask Jose, it’s Lukaku.

“For me, Harry Kane is one of the best. He’s at the level we’re talking about - the strikers that score a lot of goals, and they’re showing their level every week.

“It’s so difficult to say who is the best. There’s not too many at the same level you’re talking about.”

Asked if Kane will need a rest at some stage, Pochettino replied: “Maybe, maybe in the future we’ll decide to rotate, but at the moment he’s in a very good condition, fresh before every game.

“Of course we’re assessing every player to try to avoid injuries, we’re working hard to detect that. But today Harry is showing great condition and there’s no reason to rest or rotate him.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs and visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BenPearceSpurs/

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