With Strikers Out Does Dele Play Kane Role for Tottenham?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur talks to Jose Mourinho, Manager October 04, 2020 (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur talks to Jose Mourinho, Manager October 04, 2020 (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) /

José Mourinho broke the news in his presser that both Harry Kane and Carlos Vinicius have knocks and are out of Europa League action this week, so who plays striker for Tottenham?

Tottenham Hotspur have had an issue with depth at the striker position for some time now. After Carlos Vinicius was signed on loan this summer and had finally found the net, it seemed Spurs had found some cover. Now, with a midweek battle in ice cold Austria looming on Thursday, Tottenham will be without their top two center forwards as both Harry Kane and Carlos Vinicius were left home in London. Without Kane or Vinicius, how will José Mourinho and company cope in the attack? Here we look at some options.

Spurs Start Starlet Scarlett?

Wow, we can see the headline already Spurs starlet Scarlett scores brace to lead the line at 16. While I would be over the moon to write that after the game, the reality is it is unlikely we get Dane Scarlett from the off. We do know a couple things, however.

First, Mourinho likes Scarlett and the academy, he said as much after the U-18 player made his debut a week ago. Second, we know Scarlett earned his chance through hard work, which had been recognized by several coaches in the academy and we know coach Mourinho like hard work. Third, and maybe most important is the fact that the video from Tottenham Hotspur prior to them leaving showed Scarlett boarding the plane with the team.

While he may not play, his chances are greater than Harry Kane’s consider Scarlett is in Austria with the team and Harry Kane is at home. Scarlett had one opportunity last week in his brief cameo and put his effort on target. While it is unlikely that Scarlett is sent out there with the pressure of trying to win to secure advancement, but with five substitutes and both senior strikers out, Scarlett has a chance.

Spurs Striker by Committee?

Although Scarlett is probably the most like-for-like replacement in terms of a true striker, we have seen this season, striker is played a bit differently under José Mourinho. Just as Spurs did last season, Mourinho could decide to play without a real recognized striker and just use the rotation of wings through the position.

The idea of Lucas Moura, Heung-Min Son, and Gareth Bale all rotating across the top three positions seems plausible. You could just as easily swap Steven Bergwijn out for any one of the three and continue to do the same thing. Given Mourinho’s penchant for the occasional formation change, playing in a way that does not require a recognized striker with a rotation across the front is a distinct possibility.

Dele Does the Job?

There is a third possibility that I have been thinking about and think it is quite possible that José Mourinho has too, which is to play Dele Alli in the Harry Kane role. While the idea of Dele Alli being the only target up front as the team tries to lob in crosses does not seem too sound, Dele replacing the Harry Kane of this season is a different story.

We know that although on paper he has been starting as the #9, Kane has been more of a false nine or even outright playing in the #10 role for much of the season. Harry has regularly dropped deep to support Tanguy Ndombele and provide an additional target in link-up play. From there, Kane can use his footballing ability to turn and distribute and create offense. If José Mourinho were to ask Dele Alli to do the same thing he could very much excel.

While we know that Alli’s game is based more on timing than pace, the idea that he starts up top only to drop deep and facilitate the play makes perfect sense. Then from there, once Dele does his Harry Kane impersonation and moves the ball forward and wide, he can use his excellent timing to get into the box like the old days.

If Spurs are still looking for the right position for Dele, maybe it is the Harry Kane role. All we know for sure right now, is that Kane and Vinicius are both going to be out so someone is going to get a chance to show what they can do and earn more minutes. Given Dele’s performance the last time out, Alli deserves another shot. Further we would like to see Dele here at HotspurHQ, but understand it could be Scarlett or a committee instead.