If Emmanuel Adebayor is unfit for the game against Southampton, Tim Sherwood will have to choose between Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane. There is a case for selecting Kane.
There are suggestions that Emmanuel Adebayor who missed the mid-week game in Lisbon due to injury may be unavailable for Sunday’s home match against Southampton. If the Togolese international fails to make the team, Tim Sherwood is left with a selection dilemma – choose his experienced international striker Roberto Soldado who is out-of-form and low on confidence or give the enthusiasm and battling qualities of 20-year-old Harry Kane a chance.
The decision not to purchase an additional striker last January has meant that Adebayor has had to shoulder most of the burden as the lone striker since his return to the team in December. The use of two strikers was soon dropped when it became clear that Soldado’s goal-scoring touch wasn’t going to return any time soon. Soldado’s goal against Cardiff City was his first of the season from open play in the Premier League and during that time he has built up a catalogue of missed chances. Even on Wednesday evening, there were two half-chances which went begging before Spurs fell behind in Portugal. The player’s confidence is so low that the natural goalscoring ability which he displayed to such purpose in Spain has deserted him totally.
Gary Lineker tweeted during the game,
Soldado makes me realise I wasn't that shit.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 20, 2014
In the absence of Adebayor against Southampton, Soldado as a lone striker could be a complete waste as he brings little else to the team. He is difficult to find in the box and when he comes out of the penalty area, dropping deep or going wide to link up play – there’s no-one in the middle when the ball is played in.
Harry Kane, is not a natural goalscoring striker at Premier League level but he brings battling qualities and determination which can make up for it. He made his name as a prolific goalscorer in the Academy teams and can still score regularly when playing at Under-21 level but at the higher level of the first team, he has been more useful playing from a deeper position on the left.
In his most recent games against Benfica, he troubled the Portuguese team’s defenders with his strength and running when on the ball. It was from his powerful surge towards the box which brought the goal at White Hart Lane. Brought down, Christian Eriksen scored with the free-kick. He was again hauled down later in that first leg match while in Lisbon, he had two assists to his credit for Nacer Chadli’s goals. In his brief spell on the pitch, he troubled the defenders once again and was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty which could have taken the game to extra time. He also had a good chance with a header in those final minutes as Spurs pushed Benfica back and caused them unexpected problems.
If Adebayor is unavailable, Kane deserves an opportunity to demonstrate whether he is ready for the Premier League or whether he should continue with occasional games as a squad player.
The other alternative, in the absence of Adebayor, would be to use Chadli as a roving striker, not a natural goalscorer, but with his height and strength, he would be more of a presence in the box than Soldado, able to score himself or create something for those around him.
All of this is totally hypothetical and alternatives will not be required if Adebayor recovers and takes to the pitch to continue in the lone striker’s role.