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Pochettino claims World Cup rivals Kane and Mbappe would make perfect team-mates – Soccer News

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Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe would be “completely compatible” as a strike partnership and Mauricio Pochettino would love to see it happen, he revealed ahead of England’s World Cup clash with France.

Pochettino has coached both players, as boss of Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain, and would love to work with Kane again one day, should the England captain seek to leave Spurs.

Argentinian Pochettino will be a neutral when England and France go head-to-head at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday, but his experience of coaching the two chief goal threats on each side means he has a vested interest.

He says both Kane and Mbappe “genuinely love the game”, unlike some players he has come across.

“They love to talk about football, they love to talk about tactics, they have brains that really understand football. And this is why I think it would be so good to see them playing together. They would be completely compatible,” Pochettino said.

He predicted an “amazing” connection, but stressed: “Maybe it will never happen; when I was at PSG, I knew Tottenham would never want to sell Harry.”

Pochettino is not working as a coach in this instant, but he is regularly linked with top jobs when vacancies arise, and he said that “maybe one day in the future, if I am at a different club, and if Harry has decided to leave Tottenham, maybe I would try to bring Harry with me”.

He credits Kane as having “saved my career” with a free-kick winner for Tottenham at Aston Villa in November 2014, and recalled nurturing the talent of “an old-fashioned number nine” to become the multi-faceted striker the England skipper is now.

Pochettino told The Athletic he and his coaching staff helped Kane “to run, helped him to press, and to move into different areas, using different spaces on the pitch.

“So he was a player who could play in the box or outside it, because his capacity to understand the game is amazing. He senses what the team needs, and when it’s under pressure he can drop into midfield, to help the team to progress the ball up the pitch or to provide assists.

“And if Harry drops into those positions in the World Cup quarter-final on Saturday, it will be difficult for France to stop.”

Pochettino says that “constantly” dipping into midfield duties can also be a problem for Kane, given it blunts his frontline threat, and urged him to prioritise his work inside the penalty area.

Mbappe is the World Cup’s leading scorer with five goals at Qatar 2022, and the 23-year-old has been in revelatory form, bringing his peak PSG game to the international stage.

Although Mbappe might rub some up the wrong way with his showmanship and imperious personality, Pochettino says it is “impossible not to” have a big ego when a footballer is given such acclaim, and he stressed the former Monaco player is “arrogant in the right, in the best way”

Offering high praise, Pochettino likened Mbappe to the great Brazilian Ronaldo, top scorer at the 2002 World Cup for the triumphant Selecao.

“It’s in that capacity to accelerate, the technique, to dribble past opponents and score,” Pochettino said.



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