Pochettino backs Alli to play Messi role for Tottenham in Kane absence

The Spurs coach is open to playing the England star up front against Fulham as he looks to fill the void left by Harry Kane’s injury

Dele Alli can play as a false nine and fill the void created by Harry Kane’s injury according to Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, who suggested the England midfielder could play up front against Fulham on Sunday.

With Kane sidelined until March with an ankle injury and Son Heung-min on international duty for South Korea at the Asian Cup, Spurs have been left short of forwards at a crucial stage in the season.

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Pochettino said Fernando Llorente, who has made just six Premier League appearances this season, was in his thoughts ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage, as well as youth team players Kazaiah Sterling and Troy Parrott.

But he said he could take inspiration from Barcelona and Chelsea by using his main attacking midfielder in a more advanced role.

“I was watching Barcelona and the striker was Leo Messi,” said Pochettino.

“You can play Llorente, you can play Dele Alli, you can play Erik Lamela, you can play Kazaiah Sterling, Troy Parrott. You can play many, many players.

“Chelsea played against us with Eden Hazard like a striker, when Olivier Giroud was on the bench and Alvaro Morata was out of the squad.”

Tottenham make the short trip to Fulham hoping to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Wembley by picking up a second Premier League win since the turn of the year.

Pochettino indicated that he would rather see an existing member of the Spurs squad fire his team to victory than have to turn to the transfer market for a new player.

“The objective is to try and create our new star through the academy – that would be the most exciting thing,” he said.

“We did not find Harry Kane or Dele Alli as big stars – the two most important players in the squad were built here in Tottenham.

“Why not make the effort to add a few more players and help the club step up?”

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