Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 January 2020

Tottenham's Harry Kane up and running, but will he be fit for the Champions League final on June 1?

The sight of the injured Kane running - whether it be on the pitch, down the corridor or away from a lion - is a welcome sight for Tottenham fans ahead of Liverpool showdown

A half-time pep talk from Harry Kane is all it took.

Two-nil down and facing Champions League elimination, the Tottenham Hotspur captain made his way from his seat at the Amsterdam Arena to the changing rooms to deliver the words that supposedly inspired a second-half fightback that saw Spurs pull off an improbable 3-2 victory to advance to the June 1 final on away goals.

Never mind the fact that Lucas Moura scored a second-half hat-trick. Or that Fernando Llorente's half-time introduction for the woefully ineffectual Victor Wanyama allowed Spurs to get a foothold in the game. It was all down to Kane's intervention, apparently.

Admittedly, at that stage - 2-0 down, Ajax in the ascendancy and with Kieran Trippier reduced to the image of a small child flailing his arms wildly as the school bully Matthijs de Ligt held his hand against his head at set-pieces - Spurs needed all the help they could get.

What is not up for debate is that what transpired in the next 51 minutes will go down in Tottenham folklore. Moura's clinical finishing - a "superhero", his manager called him; - Llorente barging and bending Daley Blind and De Ligt to his whim; Toby Alderweireld immovable; Mauricio Pochettino emotional.

Ajax v Tottenham player ratings

The party taking place on the pitch was missing its special guest until Kane joined his teammates.

Facetiousness aside, the sight of Kane running - whether it be on the pitch, down the corridor or away from a lion - is a welcome sight for Tottenham fans. The magnitude of their achievement in Amsterdam to reach a first-ever European Cup final can never be overstated. All the more so because it has been achieved against the backdrop of a tired and cumbersome squad limping over the line in Kane's absence.

Since injuring his ankle during the quarter-final first leg against Manchester City on April 9, Kane has missed eight games in which Spurs have won only twice, against a team relegated in March (Huddersfield Town) and one that came close to joining them in the Championship next season (Brighton & Hove Albion).

Before his latest spell on the sidelines Kane had plundered 24 goals across competitions. A squad shorn of fresh faces the past two transfer windows has been over reliant on its marque talent. But while Kane rehabilitated, others have floundered domestically while conjuring colossal efforts in Europe.

Son Heung-min's two goals against Manchester City - plus the timely intervention of VAR to overrule a late Raheem Sterling strike - at the Etihad Stadium helped secured a semi-final showdown against Ajax.

Few would have thought anything could eclipse that night. Thanks to Moura a new chapter has been written in Spurs' European odyssey. Wednesday night's ambush in Amsterdam now make the City match seem like a pre-season friendly.

Epic though their exertions were, Spurs could desperately do with Kane free of injury and refreshed for the final against Liverpool at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Lucas Moura hat-trick seals epic Spurs comeback

Kane, 25, begins light training this week and is unlikely to be risked in Spurs' final league game of the campaign at home to Everton where a point will be enough to secure fourth spot and with it Champions League qualification next season.

That would deny Kane, scorer of 164 Tottenham goals, a last chance to work on his match sharpness before the biggest game of his career since he captained England at last summer's World Cup semi-final against Croatia.

But an extra two weeks' rest could be just what both he and this jaded Tottenham team need before they face six-time European Cup winners Liverpool in Madrid on June 1.

Updated: May 10, 2019 09:05 AM