Tottenham Hotspur fired themselves into a Wembley FA Cup semifinal on Sunday, disposing of Millwall with consummate ease; winning the contest by six goals to nil.
But, it has to be said that this victory came at a price (to put it mildly), with Harry Kane limping off after just ten minutes on the field.
Kane looks to have sustained a similar injury to the one he suffered with earlier on in the season; and given that his last injury coincided with Spurs’ worst run of form, and a severe lack of goals up front, Tottenham will be highly concerned that Kane will miss several crucial games in their Premier League run in.
Harry Kane leaving the Lane on crutches with a protective boot on his foot 😔 pic.twitter.com/6yo0c6qtOi
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) March 12, 2017
It was Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino who drew the comparison with Kane’s previous injury, stating, “It looked like last time against Sunderland, it was the same ankle”.
It goes without saying that Kane has been one of the most important and influential players at White Hart Lane this season, and his 24 goals have been absolutely vital in catapulting the North London club to the heady heights of second in the Premier League.
To lose him, regardless of how you dress it up, is a huge blow, and the concern now will be whether Tottenham are able to cope in his absence.
One thing that may work in their favour is the form of Heung-Min Son, who grabbed a hat trick against Millwall and may be called upon the spearhead the attack; whilst Dele Alli has also found the net several times in recent weeks.
Whichever way you look at it though, this is something that Tottenham will wish hadn’t happened.
It’s a pivotal moment, at a pivotal time in the season, and it hasn’t gone Spurs’ way.
Not by a long chalk.
— Ashley Skinner (@Villaboy89) March 12, 2017
In fact, you might question whether they would have preferred to lose to Millwall and retain the services of Kane for the rest of the season.
For me, the big thing this has highlighted is Tottenham’s lack of strength in depth.
Spurs don’t have anyone even close to Kane’s goalscoring ability in their ranks, and if they’re serious about dining at the top table consistently, this is a problem they’re going to need to solve.
Generally the best clubs have a raft of players capable of weighing in with goals – Manchester United’s treble-winning team of 1999 had four strikers – but Spurs only have one or two.
Short term, the neutral’s fingers have to be crossed that Kane’s injury isn’t as bad as it looks.
Long term, Spurs must improve their strength in depth if they’re serious about genuine success.