By George Sessions, PA
Harry Kane is set to lead the line again for Tottenham in Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Portsmouth.
Kane has started every match for Spurs this season but in an ideal world would have been rested for this weekend’s third-round clash.
Instead, Kane, who is two goals away from Jimmy Greaves’ all-time club record, is a “compulsory” option alongside Son Heung-min and Bryan Gil due to injuries to Dejan Kulusevski, Lucas Moura and Richarlison.
Assistant boss Cristian Stellini said: “Could be an opportunity to give him a rest but we don’t have many players and the choice is compulsory.
“So, we have to choose the players we have in the front line. We have three strikers at the moment and we’ll use them.
“It’s an important match in an important cup and if you want to respect it, you use the players in their positions. At the moment we have those three.”
Stellini was filling in for boss Antonio Conte, who was too upset to take press conference duties after finding out on Friday morning about the death of former Juventus team-mate Gianluca Vialli.
Our thoughts and condolences are with the Vialli family at this impossibly sad time 💙 https://t.co/zwcP5958iL
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 6, 2023
Vialli was the first Italian to manage in the Premier League having first moved to England in 1996 before he later took over as player-manager at Chelsea.
“Antonio in this moment is upset and sad. Every one of us we are close to Vialli’s family and all the people that loved Vialli. He is an important person in Italy and also in England,” Stellini explained.
“For us he was a great player but first of all he was a great man. He teach us a lot of things, not only when he played also when he speak with everyone.
“If you know him and people that know him can only speak well about this great guy. He was a great leader for Italy.
“He opened the door for Italian managers because (he) was the first and in that moment maybe the Premier League for us was a different country for Italian managers. But in that moment the Premier League grow a lot and overcome the Italian Serie A.
“Now we have to say thanks to Vialli because he opened this door for everyone.”
Vialli won the FA Cup during his managerial spell with Chelsea, a feat matched by Conte in 2018.
While Spurs are in a top-four battle and have a Champions League last-16 tie with AC Milan next month, Stellini insists the biggest domestic cup competition in England remains high on their list of priorities.
He added: “Everyone is thinking about the next step in the Premier League but we have an important match tomorrow.
“We respect this cup, we spoke about trying to win a trophy and tomorrow is an important time to show our desire.
“The FA Cup is an important trophy to try to win.”
Stellini refused to be drawn on the January transfer window but did admit he expects Gil, linked with a move back to Spain, to remain at the club this month.