Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho will not use Gareth Bale as a striker as he searches for a solution to ‘irreplaceable’ Harry Kane’s injury.
Kane suffered injuries to both ankles in the first half of Spurs’ chastening 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Thursday, but it was the one to his left joint that saw him come off at half-time.
Spurs were nervously waiting to find out the extent of the problem on Friday, well aware that their star man has a history of ankle problems.
He will definitely miss Sunday’s trip to Brighton, leaving Mourinho with a dilemma on how best to combat the absence of a player who has scored or assisted 23 of Tottenham’s 34 Premier League goals this season.
Carlos Vinicius was signed as cover for Kane in the summer, but despite the injury he was not brought on as a direct replacement against Liverpool or as Spurs chased the game in the second half and has only been given 25 minutes of action in the league so far.
Bale, who has operated as a striker in the past, might have been an option, but Mourinho says he is not going to be used in that role.
“Harry Kane is Harry Kane, you know,” Mourinho said. “There are players in some teams, that are not replaceable.
“I don’t think Gareth is a striker, I don’t think he likes to play as a striker. It was something that we spoke when we joined us, he was very objective with me, by saying he doesn’t feel he is a left winger like he was before, he doesn’t feel like he is a No 10 like he was before, too.
“The position that he likes to play is the position where we are playing him every minute we give him, which is the right side of the attack.
“So when Gareth plays starting or coming from the bench, that’s his position in our game.”
Bale has been underwhelming so far this season following his loan return from Real Madrid, but after playing his first 90 minutes in the FA Cup against Wycombe on Monday, Mourinho says it is time to step up.
“He played 90 mins in the FA Cup [against Wycombe]. Of course that for him is a big impact, to play 90 minutes. So it was impossible to be fresh to play a lot against Liverpool.
“But is a crucial moment for him, he is feeling better and better. And of course when you lose a player of Harry’s quality and dimension, the other guys have to step up. And hopefully he can help us.”
Spurs will also be without Dele Alli for the trip to Brighton as he continues to battle a tendon injury while Sergio Reguilon (muscle) and Giovani Lo Celso (hamstring) are also out.