Jose Mourinho has ruled out deploying Gareth Bale in Harry Kane’s role during the latter’s upcoming spell on the sidelines.
Tottenham fell to a 3-1 defeat against Liverpool on Thursday night and lost Kane to a double ankle injury, meaning the England captain will miss the next few games while he recovers.
Erik Lamela replaced Kane at half-time and Bale came on as a much later substitute, playing down suggestions the Welshman could be used as Kane’s deputy.
And Mourinho now seems to have confirmed that Bale will not fill the supporting striker role behind Son Heung-min while Kane is in rehabilitation.
“It is a crucial moment for Gareth, he is feeling better and better,” Mourinho said (via the London Evening Standard). “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.
“[But] I don’t think Gareth likes to play as a striker. When he 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 No10 like he was before, too.
“The position 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.”
Those quotes suggest Bale is unlikely to play often in February while Kane is out. Mourinho prefers the likes of Steven Bergwijn and even Lucas Moura in the wide roles, so Bale’s game time probably won’t increase.
It will be interesting to see how the Kane void is filled. Will Mourinho put his trust in Carlos Vinicius to play alongside Son? Or will another attacking midfielder come into the fold – perhaps a Dele Alli renaissance?