Harry Kane "loves" Tottenham and there is no suggestion he needs Champions League football in order to remain with the club, according to interim boss Ryan Mason.

Rumours over the club's star striker have been rife amid another disappointing season for Spurs, whose last hope of silverware vanished with Sunday's EFL Cup final loss to Manchester City.

Kane is the leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 21 from 30 games, and his 125-minutes-per-goal ratio better than he has achieved in the previous two similarly prolific top-flight campaigns.

The England captain was named Premier League player of the year at the London Football Awards on Tuesday but pointedly said trophies were more important than individual honours.

"I want to be winning the biggest prizes that there is to offer as a team and we are not quite doing that," he told the Evening Standard.

Spurs' chances of salvaging something noteworthy from this campaign rest on breaking into the top four and securing a seat at Europe's top table, with a five-point gap to fourth-placed Chelsea to overturn.

But Mason, whose side host relegated Sheffield United on Sunday, insists that will not be a decisive factor in Kane's decision-making process.

"I don't think so," he said when asked if Champions League qualification was a must as far as retaining Kane's services goes.

"Harry Kane loves this football club. In the past eight or nine years he has been one of the best strikers in the world. Everyone knows that and we know that and hopefully Harry knows that.

"Harry is a constant professional. There won't be any conversations between me and him about anything other than training and the match ahead."

Regarding the various clubs linked with Kane, including Premier League rivals Manchester City and United, Mason pointed out that such talk was nothing new.

"There's always speculation about the best players in the world," he said. "Harry Kane is one of, if not the best, number nine in the world. Talk has been there for a number of years. We don't need to manage that.

"Harry Kane is one of the most professional guys I've seen in my life. That's the most important thing, the players see a leader in training every day that sets the tone, sets the example and you can only appreciate and applaud that kind of mentality."

Kane has been involved in 34 goals in 30 Premier League games this season (21 goals, 13 assists), only registering more goal involvements in a single campaign in 2016-17.

He has been involved in nine goals in his last six league games (seven goals, two assists), netting three braces in that run. 

Overall, he has scored 38 per cent of his team's top-flight goals this season, with only Sheffield United's David McGoldrick (39 per cent) ahead of him in that regard.

The Premier League elite are playing for prizes, along with Champions League and Europa League places, and at the foot of the table there may still be dreams of a great escape.

Reality brings its rewards and regrets, and managers across England, from Pep Guardiola to Big Sam Allardyce are hoping to end the season on a high note.

For fantasy football managers, the same applies. This is the run-in and the time when marginal gains could count for so much in your own rivalries and leagues come the season's end. One masterstroke signing could make a world of difference and earn those bragging rights.

With that in mind, here is a look at some potentially shrewd picks for the weekend ahead, powered by Opta data.

EDOUARD MENDY

Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy has a long way to go before he can be defined as a Premier League great, but the September arrival from Rennes is making a terrific impact in his debut season. Heading into Saturday's derby with Fulham, Mendy has managed 15 clean sheets from his 27 Premier League games so far, with only Manchester City's Ederson keeping more (17 from 32 games).

Of all goalkeepers to have started at least 25 games in Premier League history, Mendy is the only one to keep a clean sheet in more than half of them (56 per cent). Looking down the list, Ederson has an impressive 49 per cent from 141 games, while former Chelsea and Arsenal shot-stopper Petr Cech had a nifty 46 per cent clean sheet record from 443 appearances.

LUKE SHAW

Tough love did not particularly work for Luke Shaw during Jose Mourinho's reign, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has found a way to unlock the brilliance within Manchester United's left-back, who was a £30million buy as an 18-year-old almost seven years ago.

Shaw, who looks likely to face Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday, has been directly involved in six goals (1 goal, 5 assists) in the Premier League this season. That is as many as he managed between the start of the 2016-17 season and the end of the 2019-20 campaign (also 1 goal, 5 assists). He is impressing going forward as well as when defending, so could bring valuable points to your team.

RUBEN DIAS

No Premier League defender has more clean sheets than Ruben Dias this season. With 14 so far, he is level with Aston Villa's Matt Targett. Manchester City stifled Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on Wednesday, but can they keep Crystal Palace's forwards at bay on Saturday?

The Premier League title is almost within City's grasp, and Dias could be a great signing this weekend, but do bear in mind that Guardiola could shuffle his team given the second leg with PSG is coming up on Tuesday.

City have a strong Premier League record against Palace, having won 13 of their last 17 matches (D2 L2) against the Eagles in the competition, earning 10 clean sheets across that run of games.

MATHEUS PEREIRA

Going down with the Baggies? Even if West Brom are relegated, which seems likely, there will surely be top-flight teams eyeing Matheus Pereira.

The Brazilian has been involved in six goals in his last four Premier League games (4 goals, 2 assists), and he enhanced his hero status among supporters when he scored twice - both penalties - in the derby against Wolves earlier this season.

West Brom won that one 3-2 and the teams meet again on Monday. Pereira is a player to keep an eye on in that game.

RAHEEM STERLING

Guardiola rhapsodised about Sterling after Manchester City's win against Tottenham in the EFL Cup final, despite erratic finishing meaning the winger again finished without a goal. He has not scored for City since February, but one could spark a flood, such is his established talent.

Facing Palace could be the ideal game for Sterling, should he be selected this weekend.

The England international has been involved in seven goals in his last seven starts against Palace in the Premier League (6 goals, 1 assist).

AYOZE PEREZ

Kelechi Iheanacho is the striker in form at Leicester City, but in horses for courses terms, Perez might be the man for Friday's clash with Southampton.

Perez has scored more Premier League goals against Southampton than he has against any other side in the competition (7). This includes two hat-tricks against Saints, including one in Leicester’s 9-0 win in this fixture last season.

HARRY KANE

Did Kane look off the pace in the EFL Cup final after his recent ankle knock? It was so hard to tell, given it felt he was constantly having to come looking for the ball, the service to him so inadequate.

If caretaker boss Ryan Mason considered him fit for that one, then it seems safe to expect the Tottenham talisman to face Sheffield United on Sunday, and surely he will find more opportunities against the blunted Blades than he enjoyed against City.

Kane has been involved in 34 goals in 30 Premier League games for Tottenham this season (21 goals, 13 assists), only registering more goal involvements in a single campaign in 2016-17 (36 – 29G 7A). The England striker has been involved in nine goals in his last six league games (7 goals, 2 assists), netting three braces in that run.

Harry Kane says winning personal honours is "bittersweet" given lifting trophies is his priority as speculation over the Tottenham striker's future rumbles on.

The England captain was named Premier League player of the year at the London Football Awards on Tuesday evening.

Kane continues to set the highest of standards for club and country, but the striker endured more agony when Manchester City beat Spurs 1-0 in the EFL Cup final on Sunday.

The prolific 27-year-old continues to be linked with a move away from his boyhood club and has stated that he will consider his future after Euro 2020.

Kane made his ambition crystal clear after landing another gong.

"Individual awards are great, they are fantastic achievements," he said in an interview with the Evening Standard.

"When I look back at the end of my career, I will go over it and take in a little bit more. The goal right now as a player is to win team trophies. As much as this [award] is great, I want to be winning the biggest prizes that there is to offer as a team and we are not quite doing that.

"It is one of those, it is bittersweet. I would rather be winning team trophies and this award. It is what it is. I am proud to win it. It means it has been a good season on the pitch, so I have just got to try and continue what I am doing."

Kane is the leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 21 from 30 games, with his 125 minutes per goal ratio better than he has achieved in the previous two top-flight campaigns.

He is hungry to become the leading Premier League scorer of all time, with another 97 goals needed to pass Alan Shearer's tally of 260, and is 20 goals shy of surpassing Wayne Rooney's record England haul of 53.

Yet he says that gloss would be taken off those achievements if he finishes his career with a lack of trophies.

He said: "When you come to individual achievements, I think that [being the record Premier League goalscorer] is definitely right up there. There have been so many great players over the years in the Premier League.

"You look at the names on the top 10, the top 20 and you think of how many goals and seasons they've played.

"For sure, if I finish my career as Premier League top goalscorer and, hopefully, England top goalscorer, that'd be incredible — but it wouldn't feel as good if I didn't have a lot of team trophies to go with that. If I didn't have the Premier League or a European Championships to go with that.

"From an individual point of view, of course that's the end goal, to try and score as many goals as possible and be at the top of those charts. But, for sure, without winning the biggest trophies as a team, it wouldn't feel as good."

Harry Kane will start the EFL Cup final for Tottenham against Manchester City, with Kevin De Bruyne back for the holders at Wembley.

England captain Kane suffered an ankle injury during last Friday's 2-2 draw at Everton, after scoring both Spurs' goals in a match that proved to be Jose Mourinho's last at the helm.

The 27-year-old was yet to resume training on Friday but interim boss Ryan Mason has selected Kane alongside Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura in a three-pronged attack.

City playmaker De Bruyne, whose 24 goal involvements this season are more than any of this team-mates, suffered a similar complaint to Kane as the Premier League leaders went down 1-0 to Chelsea in last weekend's FA Cup semi-final.

He sat out a 2-1 midweek win at Aston Villa but is back as Pep Guardiola's side chase a fourth consecutive success in this competition.

Despite having a Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain coming up on Wednesday, Guardiola has not made the wholesale changes that partly explained a poor City showing against Chelsea.

Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez are all retained in the starting XI, with Raheem Sterling completing the forward line.

Ryan Mason insists Tottenham are not simply "the Harry Kane team" as he waits for news of the striker's fitness before the EFL Cup final.

Kane is a doubt for Sunday's game against Manchester City having sustained an ankle injury last week and failed to train since.

If the England captain is able to feature, though, he would come up against a side managed by Pep Guardiola, who famously referred to Spurs as "the Harry Kane team" in 2017.

Kane has been involved in 47 goals in 43 games for Tottenham in all competitions this season and would be sorely missed this weekend, but discussion of Guardiola's comments prompted interim head coach Mason to highlight the team's "combined effort".

"I think when you've got one of the best players in the world, I think you can say that," Mason said. "I think of Barcelona with Messi, Real Madrid with Ronaldo.

"When guys are posting up crazy numbers and scoring and creating moments, big moments in big games, it's normal that your mind thinks they're the most important players, of course.

"But we're a team, a squad, a group of players. Whoever's out on that football pitch needs to come together, needs to work, to fight together, to compete to get a positive result.

"Of course, if you have one of the best number nines in the world, people will talk, but, no, it's a combined effort of everyone involved, that's for sure."

While Mason is assessing Kane "hour by hour" and will undoubtedly pick the striker if he is fit, Spurs have actually fared better - numbers-wise - when their talisman has been out this season.

Tottenham have won 53.5 per cent of the 43 matches Kane has played this season, scoring 2.0 goals per game.

When he has not been involved - including in Mason's debut win against Southampton - Tottenham have six wins from nine (66.7 per cent) and have scored 2.8 goals per game.

Mason also has other attacking stars to turn to, with Son Heung-min matching Kane's 16 assists and posting 36 goal involvements.

Lucas Moura (17), Gareth Bale (14) and Carlos Vinicius (13) are next on that list of goal involvements and could each have a part to play if Kane cannot make it.

But the 27-year-old Kane, who has attempted 168 shots and created 52 chances this season, will be determined to make the Spurs team as he waits for his first piece of silverware at senior level.

Indeed, as long as Tottenham's drought - since 2008 - continues, there will be fears Kane could move on in pursuit of glory elsewhere.

"He will want to win trophies, no doubt about it," ex-Spurs man Brad Friedel told Stats Perform News this week.

"He's a very ambitious player, obviously one of the best, and everyone can see his goals tally and watch him play to say that."

Mason - appointed this week - becomes the latest man to try to end that wait. He will be the first coach to take charge of a major cup final in England as early as his second game in charge since Luton Town's Syd Owen made his bow in the 1959 FA Cup final.

"I think every club wants to win trophies. That's normal," Mason said. "It's very difficult in this country, probably the most difficult country in the world to win trophies. We've seen that.

"We've been close to that over the past few years, but unfortunately we haven't been able to get over the line."

Harry Kane was shocked to see Jose Mourinho sacked ahead of the EFL Cup final against Manchester City and only found out about the decision five or 10 minutes before the official announcement.

While Kane had previously seen Mauricio Pochettino axed and acknowledged that Mourinho knew the risks of taking charge at Tottenham, he was not expecting the move which came just six days before the final.

The England captain, though, praised interim manager Ryan Mason and is "buzzing" to see his friend get the opportunity lead Spurs to silverware on Sunday, having won his first match 2-1 against Southampton in the Premier League.

Kane is a fitness doubt for the EFL Cup final after he suffered an ankle injury in last week's draw at Everton.

Mason says the club will take no risks with their talisman, who has still not returned to training, but they are monitoring his situation hour by hour.

"I was surprised - I'll be totally honest," Kane said to Sky Sports about the sacking of Mourinho. 

"I came in that morning and probably found out five to 10 minutes before it was announced.

"A lot of the focus was on the Carabao Cup final and preparing for that. But, look, it's football. I've been here now where a couple of managers have been sacked.

"As a player now, I don't think you ever expect the boss to be sacked but it's part of the game, you have to deal with it.

"I had a great relationship with Jose, I wish him all the best for whatever his next job is, but he knows as we know football can be cut-throat and we just have to look forward.

"We have a big final to prepare for now and we're looking forward to that. Ryan's been great. It's obviously been strange for him, a bit of a rollercoaster coming in late notice and taking on the job.

"I thought he's done incredibly well; how he's handled the whole situation, handled the boys and obviously getting his first win against Southampton was a massive moment.

"Me and Ryan are good mates, we've known each other a long time, on and off the field we are really close.

"I'm buzzing for him to have this opportunity and to have the experience to manage one of the best clubs in the world. Hopefully we can try and win on Sunday and experience a truly special moment together."

The build-up to the final – and even the sacking of Mourinho – was overshadowed by Spurs' planned involvement in the European Super League.

It was not a prospect Kane was keen on and he was glad to see the project fall apart within 48 hours.

Kane added: "I liked the outcome of it. I didn't quite like the idea of it if I'm honest. I can totally understand the fans' point of view.

"From a lot of people's point of view, it wasn't quite right. It's obviously been ended for now. I'm proud of the fans for sticking up for what they believe in. 

"For football in general it's good the way it is. The competitiveness is an important part of football and that's the reason we play."

Kane has previously acknowledged he faces a big decision over his club future at the end of the season.

Spurs look unlikely to reach the Champions League and the City clash provides Kane with a shot at what would be his first major honour.

City boss Pep Guardiola is looking to deny him and become the first manager to win the EFL Cup in four consecutive seasons.

Guardiola's side have not lost any of their last 19 ties in the competition since being eliminated by Manchester United in October 2016.

No player has scored more club goals at Wembley than Kane, who has 31 in 44 games at the national stadium for Spurs. It was Tottenham's temporary home during the construction of their new stadium.

He has netted eight times in his last 10 club games at Wembley, though there have only been two English scorers in the last seven EFL Cup finals – John Terry in 2015 and Jesse Lingard in 2017.

As for Mason, the last manager to take charge of an English club in a major final as early as his second game at the helm was Luton Town's Syd Owen in the 1959 FA Cup final.

Tottenham are still waiting to decide if Harry Kane will feature in Sunday's EFL Cup final, but Ryan Mason says the club will take no risks with their talisman.

Kane suffered an ankle injury in last week's draw at Everton, putting his involvement in the Wembley meeting with Manchester City in doubt.

The England captain has still not returned to training.

No player has scored more club goals at Wembley than Kane, who has 31 in 44 games at the national stadium for Spurs, but Mason is staying patient.

"We're not sure yet," the interim head coach said of Kane's status. "He didn't train with the team today but we'll have more of an idea tomorrow to see if we can get him back on the pitch.

"I'm not really sure. It's a case of taking it hour by hour now. The days are obviously running out.

"It's a case of seeing how he feels in the next four hours, the next six hours, and taking it from there."

Kane has played in each of Tottenham's three games en route to the final, scoring in the quarter-final against Stoke City.

Mason trusts the striker will contribute to making the right call on his fitness this week.

"Harry is a top professional," he said. "We're taking it hour by hour and we'll see how he feels.

"What we're not going to do - and what Harry's not going to do - is put his body on the line if he doesn't feel like it's suitable. We're never going to put Harry in that position, absolutely not.

"But we'll see what happens, see how he feels tomorrow, and then we'll start making a decision from there.

"It's a combined effort. How does the player feel? What do the medics feel? What's the advice? What are the chances of something happening?

"Harry's a mature man, a mature professional footballer. He's had to deal with certain situations and I think, ultimately, we'll speak to him, with no pressure.

"How d'you feel? What are you feeling? We'll go from there."

Mason does not feel the situation is comparable to Spurs' previous final appearance in the Champions League in 2018-19 when Kane returned from injury ahead of schedule and mustered only a single shot in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

"I think it was completely different because Harry had a very long time out injured for the Champions League final," Mason said.

"I don't know if Harry's going to be available for training tomorrow, let alone the game on Sunday, but if he is then it's a quick turnaround.

"A week without training is not a problem for someone in Harry's condition.

"We're going to have to probably assess it later tonight, early in the morning and see if we can get him on the pitch."

Mason - already the most junior Premier League coach of all time - will become the youngest ever EFL Cup final manager (29y 316d). Gianluca Vialli had been the youngest until now (33y 263d) as he guided Chelsea to victory in 1998.

"It means a hell of a lot," he said. "I've not really thought about it a great deal, because I've been preparing for the game, but this isn't really about me.

"It's about the football club, it's about Tottenham Hotspur being involved in these big matches, our fans getting to see us in these big matches.

"My focus is fully on the match. Maybe once the season's done and I get some time to think, I'll look back on it and be very proud."

Tottenham are without silverware since the 2008 final victory over Chelsea, while opponents City are bidding for a record-equalling eighth triumph and fourth in a row.

"I think there was a two or three-year period where Tottenham had chances and maybe should have [won something], but football doesn't always work out like that," Mason said.

"What they did do is develop a great team and the club went in a direction that we wanted - that's how Tottenham should go about things.

"Listen, unfortunately, we didn't get over the line, but if we don't get over the line on Sunday, we still have our identity and our DNA as a football club. That's the most important thing."

Tottenham have to start delivering trophies if they are to keep hold of star Harry Kane amid links with Manchester United and Manchester City, according to Jonathan Woodgate.

Kane, who has said he will assess his future after the delayed Euro 2020 tournament with England, is reportedly ready to quit Tottenham in pursuit of silverware.

The 27-year-old striker is yet to win a trophy with boyhood club Tottenham, who sacked Jose Mourinho on Monday and are set to face City in Sunday's EFL Cup final.

Former Tottenham defender Woodgate – now head coach of Championship outfit Bournemouth – was part of the Spurs team that last won silverware via the 2008 EFL Cup.

Woodgate insisted Tottenham must do more than beat City in the upcoming decider at Wembley to hold on to Kane, who has been linked with both Manchester clubs and Real Madrid.

"They have to [start winning silverware] with the stadium they have built and with the players they have got," said Woodgate.

"They have got the best striker in England in Harry Kane so they need to start winning trophies for him.

"They're a well-run football club but they need to start soon."

Kane reached 20 Premier League goals for a fifth season with the first of his brace against Everton last week, though he was forced off late in the 2-2 draw on Merseyside with an ankle injury.

The England international's two goals at Goodison Park lifted him to 164 for his career in the Premier League, good enough for seventh on the competition's all-time list. Thierry Henry (175) and Frank Lampard (177) are next in his sights, while Alan Shearer sits top on 260.

Kane sat out Spurs' 2-1 home win over Southampton on Wednesday – the first outing with temporary boss Ryan Mason in charge – and it remains unclear if he will recover in time to feature in the City showdown.

Harry Kane is ambitious and wants to win trophies, but Daniel Levy will not let Tottenham's prized asset leave unless the price is right, according to Brad Friedel.

Kane reached 20 Premier League goals for a fifth season with the first of his brace against Everton last week, though the striker was forced off late in the 2-2 draw on Merseyside with an ankle injury.

The England international sat out Spurs' 2-1 home win over Southampton on Wednesday – the first outing with temporary boss Ryan Mason in charge – and it remains unclear if he will recover in time to feature in Sunday's EFL Cup final against Manchester City.

That game offers the chance to secure a first trophy during his Tottenham career; he was part of Mauricio Pochettino's squad that lost the 2019 Champions League final to Liverpool, while the north London club finished as runners up to Chelsea at the end of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

Kane has said he will assess his future after the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, though former Spurs goalkeeper Friedel reckons a move will happen if a suitor matches chairman Levy's valuation, as happened when Gareth Bale and Luka Modric ended up moving to Real Madrid.

"He will want to win trophies, no doubt about it," Friedel, who spent four seasons at Tottenham, told Stats Perform News.

"He's a very ambitious player, obviously one of the best and everyone can see his goals tally and watch him play to say that. Anyone who signs a contract at Tottenham leaves when [Levy] reaches a deal he wants to get. It didn't matter if you were Gareth Bale or Luka Modric, or you are Harry Kane.

"When the deal is right and you have multiple years left on your contract, that is when you'll be sold or renew your contract.

"Sorry to put a dampener on speculation but it is only Harry's representatives and Daniel and the board who know when that is going to be right. Anything other than that is us wasting our breath, to be honest.

"I think there is a figure and once that figure is met, Daniel will allow that sale to go through. But I do think it will end up happening before Harry Kane's career is over providing, god forbid, there's no injury. Levy is the one who will decide that. Nobody else.

Kane's two goals at Goodison Park lifted him to 164 for his career in the Premier League, good enough for seventh on the competition's all-time list. Thierry Henry (175) and Frank Lampard (177) are next in his sights, while Alan Shearer sits top on 260.

Tottenham also face a decision over the long-term future of captain Hugo Lloris, whose current contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 season.

"Hugo is still, in my opinion, one of the best around," Friedel said of the France international.

"The thing you get with Hugo is if he makes a mistake on the big occasion he knows how to bounce back. That's the one when you go out and buy a foreign goalkeeper who is not used to the Premier League, then you might have that bedding in period. If you go for a younger goalkeeper, you're definitely have some patches that go up and down.

"So as long as Hugo is fit, there's no reason why you should go out and get a new goalkeeper to replace him. That's my opinion right now.

"My opinion is you know what you have – a very good professional and goalkeeper and there's not a big need to change. If you want to purchase someone go and purchase a young outstanding goalkeeper while you have Hugo and see if that young goalkeeper can perform better than Hugo."

Son Heung-min scored a late penalty to ensure Ryan Mason's first match as Tottenham caretaker manager ended in a 2-1 win over Southampton, boosting their top four hopes in the absence of Harry Kane.

Spurs' build-up to Wednesday's game was hardly ideal given the loss of Kane to injury before Mourinho was sacked amid the backdrop of the European Super League controversy, but Mason – who became the Premier League's youngest-ever manager (29 years, 312 days) – saw his team recover following a rocky start.

Seemingly a result of Kane's absence, Spurs failed to get a single shot on target in the first half for the first time this season, with Southampton – who went ahead through Danny Ings – good value for their lead.

Gareth Bale's equaliser sparked Spurs into life and, despite the disappointment of having a Son strike disallowed, the South Korean subsequently converted an 88th-minute spot-kick to give Mason's men a boost ahead of Sunday's EFL Cup final with Manchester City.

Harry Kane faces a race to be fit for Tottenham's clash with Manchester City in the EFL Cup final after missing training on Tuesday.

The striker looks certain not to be involved in Wednesday's Premier League home match against Southampton after suffering an ankle injury in last Friday's 2-2 draw with Everton.

Caretaker head coach Ryan Mason, who took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho on Monday, could offer no guarantee the England captain would be ready for Sunday's Wembley trip.

Mason said in a news conference: "I'm not sure currently. He didn't train today. It's one of those cases of taking it day by day. We're still not sure about the weekend just yet.

"What we do now is Harry's working extremely hard to get over this injury."

Kane has scored 31 goals and had 16 assists across all competitions this season, making him the only player from Europe's 'top five' leagues to score 30 or more times and add at least 15 assists.

Handed the job until the end of the season, rookie coach Mason is a former Tottenham player who had to retire three years ago due to a head injury sustained while at Hull City.

The 29-year-old said he was "very proud" to be chosen to lead the team, and rallied the players by declaring: "I want us to be brave and aggressive and play like Tottenham Hotspur."

Chairman Daniel Levy proposed Mason should succeed Mourinho as interim boss after dismissing the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager.

"We had a very long conversation," Mason said. "I took training, we had another conversation and he asked me if I wanted it."

Former Charlton Athletic and England defender Chris Powell and ex-Watford man Nigel Gibbs will be assistants to Mason.

Mason said he and former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had "exchanged a few messages" since the dramatic upheaval. He also said he had not spoken to Mourinho.

Mason was in the line-up the last time Saints won at Spurs in the Premier League, a 2-1 victory in May 2016, but Tottenham have typically had Southampton's number in north London, winning eight of their past nine at home in this fixture.

Tottenham's impressive record in home Premier League games on Wednesday is another positive omen as Mason seeks a winning start. Since a 1-0 loss to Leicester City in January 2016, they have won 10 of their 11 such matches (D1), scoring 25 goals and conceding just four.

Son Heung-min scored four goals in Tottenham’s 5-2 win against Southampton in the reverse fixture earlier this season, with all four assisted by Kane. That remains the only occasion in Premier League history when a player has scored four goals in a match with each of them assisted by the same player.

Mason will have plenty to think about as he prepares to boss a team in a Premier League game for the first time, a situation he had not seen coming and described as "crazy".

The man who joined Tottenham's academy as an eight-year-old, going on to reach first-team level and England selection, is determined to take the change of circumstances in his stride.

"It's football," he said. "Anything can happen. You just have to be ready for what football can throw at you at times."

Jose Mourinho is trying to be "optimistic" about the injury Harry Kane suffered towards the end of Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Everton on Friday but accepts it is too early to know its severity.

Kane was in lethal form for Spurs at Goodison Park, as he has been for much of the season, as he scored both goals for Mourinho's side.

The England captain's first effort saw him reach 20 Premier League goals in a season for the fifth time, a record bettered by only Alan Shearer (seven) and Sergio Aguero (six).

His second – the goal that secured Spurs a point – was his 12th in as many games against Everton in all competitions and it moved him above Robbie Fowler into seventh in the Premier League's all-time top scorers' list with 164.

But he was unable to finish the match, as Richarlison fell on Kane's ankle in second-half stoppage time and the collision forced him off.

With just nine days to go until Spurs are in EFL Cup final action against Manchester City, it is a nightmare scenario for Tottenham and Mourinho.

After the match, Mourinho tried to put on a brave face but could not offer much certainty.

When it was put to him by Sky Sports that Spurs fans would be anxious, Mourinho said: "Me too but I think it's too early to say something.

"For him to leave the pitch at 2-2 with only a few minutes to go, it's obviously because he felt something, but let me be optimistic and believe that he has time to recover.

"Let me be optimistic and believe it's nothing serious. It's obvious he's a very important player for us, but I cannot say much or speculate."

England manager Gareth Southgate was also in attendance and will surely monitor Kane's situation closely with the delayed Euro 2020 less than two months away.

The draw on Merseyside leaves Spurs five points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham, who play their game in hand against struggling Newcastle United on Saturday.

Harry Kane twice punished hapless Everton defending as Tottenham salvaged a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park on Friday, though it does little good for their dwindling top-four hopes.

Jose Mourinho's side were looking to bounce back from a deflating 3-1 defeat to Manchester United, yet they were underwhelming once again and arguably fortunate to leave Merseyside with a point.

Kane punished a Michael Keane error to reach 20 Premier League goals in a season for the fifth time, a record bettered by only Alan Shearer (seven) and Sergio Aguero (six), though their lead did not last long as Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised from the spot for an Everton side being orchestrated by the excellent James Rodriguez.

Sigurdsson doubled his tally in the second half as Everton threatened to move above Spurs in the table, but another defensive mix-up involving Keane was punished by Kane as he spared the visitors from a defeat that would have left them six points behind fourth-placed West Ham.

The match's spell of monotony was broken in the 22nd minute as James parted Toby Alderweireld and Joe Rodon with a disguised pass, only for Hugo Lloris to save Richarlison's subsequent strike.

Kane was more clinical a few moments later, however, lashing past Jordan Pickford after Tanguy Ndombele's cross had been flicked out of Mason Holgate's reach by Keane.

But Everton quickly levelled, Sigurdsson coolly converting a penalty after Sergio Reguilon was adjudged to have fouled James, who then forced Lloris into a vital stop following a clever interchange with the Iceland international in the 38th minute.

Son Heung-min should have done better early in the second half as he hit a tame effort into the side-netting after gliding past Keane.

Everton made Spurs pay just past the hour, too. Seamus Coleman, introduced for the anonymous Alex Iwobi less than a minute earlier, played a one-two with Richarlison on the right and whipped in a teasing cross that Sigurdsson met with an emphatic volley to beat Lloris.

But in an incident not too dissimilar to the one that gifted Spurs the lead, Keane headed a cross on to Holgate and Kane was on hand to hammer home before hobbling off late on, a concern for his club and also England manager Gareth Southgate, who was in attendance.

Harry Kane has two iconic Premier League strikers in his sights after he plundered his 20th top-flight goal of the season in Tottenham's clash with Everton on Friday.

The England international's clinical half-volley in the 27th minute at Goodison Park took him to 20 Premier League goals in a campaign for the fifth time in his career.

Only Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer (seven) and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero (six) have achieved the feat more often in the history of the competition.

The clinical strike also saw him overtake Jermain Defoe to move joint-seventh with Robbie Fowler on the all-time list of Premier League scorers, the pair sitting on 163.

Everton have suffered more than most when up against Kane, with the 27-year-old one of only three players to score 10 Premier League goals against the Toffees, after Les Ferdinand and Shearer (16 each).

Meanwhile, only Jimmy Greaves (seven) has scored 20 or more goals in a top-flight season for Spurs more times than Kane, who had failed to reach that number in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Harry Kane continues to be linked with a move away from Tottenham and, after last week's defeat to Manchester United, his Spurs future looks little brighter.

Still, the England star has rarely allowed off-field rumours to influence his form, and he happens to be preparing to face one of his favourite opponents in Everton.

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota is another forward we are encouraging Fantasy Football players to select for this week, as the champions get ready for a tricky test at Leeds United.

Is there anyone else who offers good value for this week, we hear you ask? Read on for a handful of suggested picks, as powered by Opta data...

 

RUI PATRICIO

Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio has kept five clean sheets in his most recent 13 Premier League games. That might not sound like a lot, but he went 12 matches before there without keeping the ball out of the net.

Those shut-outs have come against some strong opposition, too: Chelsea, Leicester City, Leeds United, Aston Villa and Fulham have all failed to find a way past the Portugal international.

Given Sheffield United have failed to score in 17 league matches this term, the highest number in the division, Patricio is an ideal man for the number-one spot.

PABLO MARI

Backing Arsenal defensively is rarely the safest of bets, but they do have a strong record against promoted teams in the top flight, having kept four clean sheets in their most recent six meetings with such opposition.

Of their four main centre-backs, Pablo Mari has the best rate for minutes per goal conceded: one every 103.

Having helped the Gunners ease past Sheffield United last week, he could be in line for another outing against struggling Fulham.

 

ANTONIO RUDIGER

Antonio Rudiger has only started 14 games in the league this season, but Chelsea have kept clean sheets in nine of those matches, including in five of the most recent seven.

In the most recent game in which the Germany defender did not start, the Blues shipped five goals at home to a West Brom side who were made to look like peak Barcelona.

After their FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, Chelsea resume league duties against Brighton and Hove Albion – a team with a frustrating habit of failing to turn promising play into goals.

 

DIOGO JOTA

Liverpool might have fallen from the lofty heights of last season, but few could blame their decline on close-season signing Diogo Jota.

The Portugal forward has averaged a goal every 103 minutes in the league this term, the best rate of any Liverpool player. He has also netted in each of his past three away games.

With Leeds United boasting an expected goals against figure of 48.94, the fourth-worst in the division, Jota will fancy his chances at Elland Road.

ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN

With a goal and an assist off the bench against Burnley last week, Allan Saint-Maximin proved just how valuable he could be to Newcastle United's survival hopes.

The winger has been involved in five goals (two scored, three assisted) in his previous six league matches, as many as he managed in 19 before then.

The Magpies face tough opponents in West Ham, but David Moyes' men have conceded nine goals in three league games - and each time after going 3-0 up.

 

HARRY KANE

Harry Kane cut a disconsolate figure after Spurs' loss to Manchester United, but this weekend could offer the chance for a pick-me-up.

Kane has scored nine goals in his past seven games against Everton in all competitions, including five in just three appearances at Goodison Park.

He also just one short of reaching 20 in the top flight in a single season for the fifth time.

KELECHI IHEANACHO

His two goals at West Ham were not quite enough to mount a comeback, but they did underline the red-hot form of Kelechi Iheanacho.

The striker has hit seven goals in five league games, as many as he managed in 63 previous appearances in the competition.

With eight league goals to his name in 2020-21, Iheanacho is just one short of his best ever return for a Premier League season. Next up for Leicester after their FA Cup final? Relegation-threatened West Brom.

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