Arsene Wenger believes Tottenham striker Harry Kane is not yet ready to compete at the intensity required after returning early from injury.
Kane suffered injuries to both ankles in the loss to Liverpool towards the end of January. The initial prognosis was that he would be out for a number of weeks.
However, the England captain was back ahead of schedule. He returned to action on February 7th as a starter against West Brom.
He then came on as a substitute in the FA Cup clash with Everton and perhaps got more than he bargained for when the game went to extra time.
Just three days later, Kane played the full 90 minutes of Spurs’ loss to Manchester City. It would seem his club believe he is back at an appropriate level of fitness.
However, one man who does not think that is the case is former Arsenal manager Wenger.
Speaking to beIN Sports, Wenger suggested that Kane is not yet at full fitness and as such is a “handicap” to his team at present.
Wenger said: “What we have learned from Tottenham, like I said before the game, [Hugo] Lloris doesn’t look to be at his best.
“Nor is Harry Kane. He looks physically, fitness-wise, not completely ready to play at that intensity.
“To me he looks still a bit injured on his ankle when he got hurt one time, he went down quickly and it was not a big hit.
“So with that handicap, Tottenham will have a difficult game.”
Mourinho confident Kane is OK
Someone who believes Kane is fine to play, though, is obviously Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho.
Earlier this month, the Spurs boss outlined why he had been able to bring the 27-year-old back into the fold earlier than expected.
“He is one of the best strikers in the world. Period,” Mourinho said. “There is nothing else to say. The team depends a lot on him, we can’t hide that.
“It’s the goals he can score, the assists he can make, the link play he has, that personality that players like that can have and he is always an important influence for us.”
READ MORE: Mourinho explains Kane’s rapid return