Tottenham are still waiting to decide if Harry Kane will feature in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, but Ryan Mason says the club will take no risks with their talisman.
Kane suffered an ankle injury in last week’s draw at Everton, putting his involvement in the Wembley meeting with Manchester City in doubt.
The England captain has still not returned to training.
No player has scored more club goals at Wembley than Kane, who has 31 in 44 games at the national stadium for Spurs, but Mason is staying patient.
“We’re not sure yet,” the interim head coach said of Kane’s status. “He didn’t train with the team today but we’ll have more of an idea tomorrow to see if we can get him back on the pitch.
“I’m not really sure. It’s a case of taking it hour by hour now. The days are obviously running out.
“It’s a case of seeing how he feels in the next four hours, the next six hours, and taking it from there.”
Kane has played in each of Tottenham’s three games en route to the final, scoring in the quarter-final against Stoke City.
Mason trusts the striker will contribute to making the right call on his fitness this week.
“Harry is a top professional,” he said. “We’re taking it hour by hour and we’ll see how he feels.
“What we’re not going to do – and what Harry’s not going to do – is put his body on the line if he doesn’t feel like it’s suitable. We’re never going to put Harry in that position, absolutely not.
“But we’ll see what happens, see how he feels tomorrow, and then we’ll start making a decision from there.
“It’s a combined effort. How does the player feel? What do the medics feel? What’s the advice? What are the chances of something happening?
“Harry’s a mature man, a mature professional footballer. He’s had to deal with certain situations and I think, ultimately, we’ll speak to him, with no pressure.
“How d’you feel? What are you feeling? We’ll go from there.”
Mason does not feel the situation is comparable to Spurs’ previous final appearance in the Champions League in 2018-19 when Kane returned from injury ahead of schedule and mustered only a single shot in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.
“I think it was completely different because Harry had a very long time out injured for the Champions League final,” Mason said.
“I don’t know if Harry’s going to be available for training tomorrow, let alone the game on Sunday, but if he is then it’s a quick turnaround.
“A week without training is not a problem for someone in Harry’s condition.
“We’re going to have to probably assess it later tonight, early in the morning and see if we can get him on the pitch.”
Mason – already the most junior Premier League coach of all time – will become the youngest ever EFL Cup final manager (29y 316d). Gianluca Vialli had been the youngest until now (33y 263d) as he guided Chelsea to victory in 1998.
“It means a hell of a lot,” he said. “I’ve not really thought about it a great deal, because I’ve been preparing for the game, but this isn’t really about me.
“It’s about the football club, it’s about Tottenham Hotspur being involved in these big matches, our fans getting to see us in these big matches.
“My focus is fully on the match. Maybe once the season’s done and I get some time to think, I’ll look back on it and be very proud.”
Tottenham are without silverware since the 2008 final victory over Chelsea, while opponents City are bidding for a record-equalling eighth triumph and fourth in a row.
“I think there was a two or three-year period where Tottenham had chances and maybe should have [won something], but football doesn’t always work out like that,” Mason said.
“What they did do is develop a great team and the club went in a direction that we wanted – that’s how Tottenham should go about things.
“Listen, unfortunately, we didn’t get over the line, but if we don’t get over the line on Sunday, we still have our identity and our DNA as a football club. That’s the most important thing.”