José Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur will have to make do without striker Harry Kane for a few weeks – or months – as the Englishman has suffered a torn hamstring. Oh dear.
Spurs don’t have a backup striker on their books, meaning Mourinho is going to have to get creative in his attempts to replace one of the finest pure strikers around.
This isn’t the first time that Spurs have lost Kane, so let’s take a look at how they fared without him in the past.
Back Injury – November 2013
Kane probably wouldn’t have played enough minutes in those games to actually make a difference, but could this have been foreshadowing just how much Spurs miss him?
Ankle Injury – September 2016
Now a bona-fide starter at the club, Kane’s first significant absence from Spurs came in September 2016, when he damaged ligaments in his ankle attempting to tackle Sunderland’s Papy Djilobodji (pay attention to the word ‘ankle’, that’s going to be relevant later).
Vincent Janssen and Son Heung-min took turns at striker during the 11 games in which Kane was absent. In the Premier League, victories over Middlesbrough and Man City were followed by frustrating draws against West Brom, Bournemouth and Leicester, as Spurs struggled to create chances.
In Europe, Spurs managed to beat CSKA Moscow, but fell to a draw and a defeat against Bayer Leverkusen, which ultimately contributed to their failure to make it out of the group stages.
Ankle Injury – March 2017
An injury to the same ankle would cause Kane to miss a further three games later in the same season, but this absence was not felt as sorely as the previous one.
Spurs picked up comfortable wins against Southampton, Burnley and Swansea to maintain their momentum in their push for the Premier League title.
He returned to bag ten goals in the remaining eight games to ensure Spurs finished second in the league that year.
Hamstring Injury – October 2017
Deciding to take a break from ankle injuries, Kane went down with a hamstring issue in the dying embers of a 4-1 win over Liverpool in October 2017, and he missed two matches as he recovered from the strain.
Son again took his place in the team, but he was powerless to prevent Spurs from falling to a 1-0 loss to Manchester United, and that result triggered a horrible run of form. Again without Kane, Spurs threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to rivals West Ham in the FA Cup fourth round.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side did recover eventually and went on to finish third, but that brief spell without Kane certainly threatened to derail their season.
Ankle Injury – March 2018
A minor knee injury in November 2017 was conveniently timed so that Kane did not miss any games, but he was not so lucky with the ankle injury which he picked up against Bournemouth in March 2018.
He missed the majority of that game, but Spurs still managed to win 4-1. Kane then sat out a routine FA Cup victory over Swansea, before returning as a late substitute against Chelsea when his side were already 3-1 up.
They got by just fine without Kane for a few weeks, with Son and Dele Alli stepping up in his absence.
Ankle Injury – January 2019
The next significant injury of Kane’s career came in January 2019, when he tore the ligaments in his ankle (shock) late in a 1-0 loss to Manchester United. He would end up missing seven matches.
Fernando Llorente had his chances to impress, and Spurs were perfect without Kane in the Premier League, winning all four of their games against Fulham, Watford, Newcastle and Leicester. They even beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, but the domestic cups weren’t too kind to them.
They were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup at the hands of Chelsea, before falling to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup just four days later. They sort of missed him, but probably didn’t.
Ankle Injury – April 2019
Another one. Kane missed nine of Spurs’ last ten games of the season after damaging his ankle ligaments again in April, and Spurs absolutely imploded without him.
They may have beaten relegation-threatened Huddersfield and Brighton, but they lost to Man City, West Ham and Bournemouth, before ending the league season with a 2-2 draw with Everton.
Things were slightly better in the Champions League. A 4-3 loss to Man City was enough to steer them through to the semi-final, where a 1-0 loss to Ajax in the first leg was saved by Lucas Moura’s hat-trick in a 3-2 win in the return fixture.
Kane came back for the final against Liverpool, but looked completely off the pace as his side fell at the final hurdle.
Illness – November 2019
Kane’s latest absence came in November 2019, when illness forced him to miss a 1-1 draw with Everton.
With Lucas in attack, Spurs endured a difficult 90 minutes, but that was no different to their entire start to the season. Even with Kane in the picture, Spurs were hovering down in mid-table, so it’s tough to draw too many conclusions from this one.
He will miss more than the one game this time, so how will Spurs fare without him?