Antonio Conte believes Harry Kane is heading to the World Cup in ‘the best physical and mental condition’ despite his domestic workload with Tottenham.
Kane played the full 90 minutes and scored in his final appearance for Spurs before the Qatar tournament break in a 4-3 win over Leeds.
The England skipper heads into the tournament having played the most minutes (1,137) of any Premier League player in all competitions since October.
Kane’s heavy workload
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Despite fears of fatigue ahead of England’s opener against Iran on November 21, Conte believes Kane is flying to Qatar in peak physical and mental condition.
“He comes to the World Cup in the best physical and mental condition. I think he feels a lot of responsibility because he is the captain of England. I consider England to be one of the best teams in the world and one of the candidates to have an important tournament. I wish the best for Harry and England. As Italy are not playing, I can be an England supporter.”
Spurs enter the World Cup break fourth in the Premier League and have also booked their place in the Champions League last 16. That latest win over Leeds came in dramatic circumstances with Rodrigo Bentancur striking twice in the final 10 minutes to put the club on a positive footing ahead of the Boxing Day restart.
Kane has started all 15 Premier League games this season, scoring 12 goals and Conte hailed how the striker has handled “a lot of weight on his shoulders” over the past six weeks.
“Especially in the last 13 games, Harry has played an important role,” he added.
“We finished that spell in the top four and last 16 of the Champions League and we have Harry to thank for that. We had a lot of injuries to Kulusevski, Richarlison, Lucas Moura and Son was struggling a bit at the start of the the season.
“Harry deserves great praise because during that period he had a lot of weight on his shoulders and he played fantastically. Now he comes to the World Cup in a very good physical condition and mentally he is stronger than I see a player who is ready. I see in his eyes the desire to be a protagonist in the best competition in the world.”
Tale: We never give up
After their last victory against Leeds, Tottenham have saved 13 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other team.
“Maybe in many games we lost and then we came back,” added Conte.
“For this reason, I think the positive things are that we showed great character, great desire and great will not to give up and to believe, to believe in victory. I try every day to transfer this concept that we have to start the game and then until the end we have to fight and see what happened. Never give up, that’s our mantra. That’s the positive side.
“On the negative side, conceding three goals is never good. A team that wants to be competitive, conceding three goals is never positive. For this reason, if you want to achieve a good result, you have to find stability.”