Mauricio Pochettino believes right environment must be created to prevent 'special' Harry Kane leaving Tottenham

Pochettino admitted it can be impossible to keep a player once his head is turned so it's crucial to create the right atmosphere for them in the first place

Miguel Delaney
Sunday 07 January 2018 19:10 GMT
Harry Kane is one of the most high-profile forwards in the world
Harry Kane is one of the most high-profile forwards in the world (Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino believes Harry Kane is a “special” and rare player who is likely to stay at Tottenham Hotspur for the rest of his career, but stressed that the club still need to manage him in a “clever” and “human” way as he reflected on Philippe Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona and the challenge such situations represent.

The Argentine is all too familiar with Liverpool’s problem, given how he has fashioned a much-admired squad with limited resources and endured plenty of talk about his players being scouted by wealthier clubs.

Pochettino pointed to examples of stars like Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo wanting to leave Barcelona and Manchester United, respectively, and said it is almost impossible to keep a player once his head is turned so it’s crucial to create the right atmosphere for them in the first place.

“I think it is a massive example or massive point to show how this business is,” Pochettino said. “How difficult it is for the clubs to keep their best players. Liverpool is one of the best clubs in the world and look when Coutinho, or a player like Coutinho, wants to leave, how difficult it is to keep your best player.

“But that is today Coutinho – who I think Liverpool wanted to keep but was difficult to keep – and looked what happened with Ronaldo and Man United and [Zinedine] Zidane at Juventus, Figo in Barcelona, it is a lot of examples that it is so, so tough to keep your best player if the player says he wants to leave.

“That is why it is so important how you care for your players, it is why you need to anticipate things. It is so important to work with the human side and then to provide the player the club and the team an exciting moment and try and build a project that they feel comfortable with and they are happy to be with you.

“Look, that is a good point to assess and talk. Today when a player decides to leave, look what happens. If another club pays the type of money they pay – like Barcelona with Liverpool – how do you stop it? I hear what clubs say. It is so difficult our job.”

Kane’s attitude makes managing him easier than other high-profile stars, and Pochettino has previously spoken of how he could be Spurs’ Francesco Totti, given how the Italian stayed at Roma for his whole career despite being one of the most sought-after players in the world.

After the striker scored twice against AFC Wimbledon to take his tally for the season to 26 goals, though, Pochettino spoke of how Spurs should not be complacent about Kane’s desire to stay.

“I think Harry is special, so special, because he loves Tottenham, and he feels Tottenham, but we need to be careful, and be clever how we manage him,” Pochettino said. “Then the players need to choose, stay here, you cannot force everyone to stay here, I think our job is to try to work together, to try to achieve all we want, the club, everything that we want for the club, and of course Harry is a special player.

“I told him he seems like Totti in Italy, only a few players so special can spend their whole careers in one club. And I think Harry is this type of player, but in football you can’t be sure of anything. That’s why it’s important to work together and try to achieve all we want. This present in Tottenham, this future in Tottenham, this project is exciting and I hope we spend a lot of time here, try to win trophies and achieve all we want.”

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