By George Sessions, PA
Matt Doherty has backed Tottenham teammate and close friend Harry Kane to get over his World Cup disappointment by scoring “a lot of goals” for his club during the second half of the season.
Kane was in attendance for Spurs’ 1-1 friendly draw with Nice on Wednesday and surprised the players involved by entering the home dressing room at half-time.
The England forward was not expected to return to club duty until Friday after being given time off following the World Cup in Qatar, where his missed penalty late on in a 2-1 defeat by France in the quarter-finals saw the national team exit the tournament.
“Harry is absolutely fine. We all know his character, he’s one of the strongest characters we know, so he’ll be absolutely fine,” Doherty insisted.
Absolutely gutted. We’ve given it everything and it’s come down to a small detail which I take responsibility for. There’s no hiding from it, it hurts and it’ll take some time to get over it but that’s part of sport. pic.twitter.com/lw5Esl4fnA
— Harry Kane (@HKane) December 11, 2022
“Yeah, he came in at half-time (against Nice). It was unexpected. We didn’t know. We’re obviously close friends, so it was good to have him back.
“I think all players use the negative times as a learning curve as a way to motivate them to be better. I don’t think it will be just for his case, I think a lot of people will be that way.
“For us, we want him to come back and be the best version of himself which he has been for most of the season so far.
“I don’t think we’ve got any questions about how he’s going to return. I think he’s going to come back pretty good and I think he’s going to score a lot of goals for us and win us a lot of games.”
While Kane’s focus during the last month has been on international duty, the likes of Doherty and Dejan Kulusevski have been put through double sessions by Spurs boss Antonio Conte.
Swedish attacker Kulusevski is excited for their Premier League campaign to resume at Brentford on Boxing Day and believes the Tottenham vice-captain will feature.
Kulusevski said of Kane: “Always you want to be on the pitch, you want to help your team so I think he wants to play absolutely.
“I was surprised he came (against Nice). I thought he was coming back like Friday so it was good to see him back. It was very good to see him and I can’t wait to play with him.
“He is going to help us a lot. I think everybody did good (at the World Cup) and I am happy we also have a winner in Cuti (Cristian) Romero.”
While Kane is in line to play against Brentford on Monday, Argentina international Romero is set to be absent.
The availability of Hugo Lloris, who was a runner-up with France, is also unknown but Ivan Perisic is expected to return to training on Friday after helping Croatia to third place at the World Cup.
Doherty was one of Spurs’ players to make the most of the time on the training field with Conte during the mid-season break and after scoring in the friendly fixtures with Motherwell, Peterborough Under-21s and Nice, the Republic of Ireland defender is eager to continue his form.
“Physically, I’m in a very good place right now. Probably in the best condition I’ve been in for a long time. My knee feels pretty good, I have no injury concerns at all, so I’m just ready to attack the second half of the season and see how that goes,” the Ireland international added.
“As a wing-back, especially the way we want to play, the wing-back (role) is very important, so you’ve got to create and score goals.
“I’ve always backed myself to do that over my career. If you see my record for goals, it is quite good, even when I was at Wolves.
“I want to contribute as much as I can. I know that if you are playing in that position you have to be producing at the top end of the pitch.”