Mauricio Pochettino has suggested the criticism Harry Kane and Dele All have received in recent weeks is unnecessary ahead of England’s World Cup campaign this summer.

Kane has been the victim of ridicule lately after he contentiously claimed Tottenham’s second goal in the 2-1 win at Stoke City earlier this month.

Spurs appealed to have the goal taken from Christian Eriksen and re-awarded to Kane, which led to the head of the PFA making a joke at the striker’s expense.

The official FA Cup Twitter account also aimed a dig at Kane after Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat in last weekend’s semi-final, something the club and Pochettino himself took issue with.

Alli, too, has come under fire for his inconsistent form and a couple of alleged diving incidents this season.

Pochettino believes the criticism, particularly from English football’s official bodies, has been strange considering the World Cup is just around the corner.

“[The criticism] is a little bit strange from my point of view. Both Harry and Dele are massive talents and they are going to defend the England national team shirt,” Pochettino told reporters on Friday (via ESPN).

“But I think the people love Harry Kane and Dele Alli. It is in fashion sometimes to boo or criticise [players] like this but I think people love them but it is true sometimes we magnify the situation and we create an issue when really there is not an issue.

“But yes, sometimes [the criticism] is difficult to understand. Like it was so difficult to understand this tweet from the FA after the game of course.

“For me, the most important thing here in England is try to back English players. It is so important for English football to back them. Kane is going to compete in international games at the World Cup and everyone wants to support the national team.

“If Harry Kane scores he is an English player not a Tottenham player or United or Chelsea, something like that.

“The most important thing is to back them. I don’t think people need to show more respect – it is only to show a little bit more love to them because, sure, this type of situation, like the one that happened after the game [against Man United], doesn’t help to create a good atmosphere.

“And I’m sure that Harry is not happy and no-one is helping him to have an unbelievable World Cup. When we talk about passion, when we talk about to feel you are proud to defend your country and everything we need to be careful in the way we send messages or the way we write or give our opinion.”

In this country, English players do tend to come under increased criticism from opposition fans for no apparent reason.

And it’s not only Kane and Alli – Raheem Sterling seems to be unfairly maligned despite his recent improvement for Manchester City.

Hopefully it won’t affect those players going into the World Cup.



  1. The World Cup is a great tournament and I can appreciate young players wanting to participate.
    At the same time, I think it’s a pity that “playing for the country” has been painted as some kind of great honor. It’s not! Every year several young players are injured or go off form by playing meaningless friendlies with other international teams. International managers (with the possible exception of World Cup) have no investment in the health, form or well-being of players they “call up”. Country teams should be limited to older players who have already earned their stripes and banked their wages so they can have one last moment in the limelight.


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