Antonio Conte has revealed even Harry Kane will need to be rested at some point over the next month during Tottenham’s packed fixture list.
Spurs have started the new Premier League season with seven points out of a possible nine but now embark on a 21-day period where they play five Premier League matches and two group-stage clashes in the Champions League.
It will be a balancing act for Conte, as well as England’s other leading teams, and Kane is set to start one fixture on the bench during the next three weeks.
Ahead of a similarly gruelling schedule last winter, Conte conceded he could not envisage starting a game without Kane but a busy summer of transfer activity – where Tottenham signed six players – coupled with the demands of the seven matches on the horizon mean the 29-year-old will drop out of the XI at least once.
“I repeat we are talking about a situation that we have to face,” Conte said.
“On Sunday we have to play seven games every three days. After every game I will have to check the situation with all of the players for tiredness and injuries and one player will not be able to play in all seven games – it is impossible.
“I am not a magician! I cannot forecast this, but we go game by game to make the best decisions for the team and for the players.
“Last season I arrived in Tottenham in November and the competition was completely different because the (Europa) Conference League is totally different to the Champions League.
“Now is another story. The situation is different to the past. There is a World Cup in November and now in 23 (sic) days we have seven games. It’s crazy to think we can put always the same players.
“In this transfer market our target was to improve the squad, also because we know very well we have to face four competitions so to have the possibility to make rotations without dropping the level is important.
“Now we start to play games every three days, now you understand if a team is strong or not.
“To play every seven days is easy for every club. You rest, slight injuries can recover and then you play with the same players, but now with Champions League and Premier League you understand the quality and the depth of the squad. Now you can make a judgement, not before.”
Kane has made a fine start to the new campaign with two goals in three games to move 16 away from Jimmy Greaves’ all-time goalscoring record for Spurs.
Partner in crime Son Heung-min has yet to hit peak form after finishing the 2021-22 season with six goals in five games, which saw him share the Premier League golden boot with Mohamed Salah.
Conte is not concerned about Son’s lack of goals though.
He added: “Sonny is enjoying his football every day. To think he is enjoying it more or less just because of one goal, it is ridiculous.
“We are trying to create a problem when the problem is not there. I am not worried and, if anybody is going to be worried, it is the coach.
“He is working well and in my opinion he is playing a good game. He has to continue to play that way. When he finds the goal, he is going to score and the situation will return to normal for everybody, but I am really surprised to be speaking about Sonny.
“If we have seven points and you are complaining about Sonny and, when he is good, I think we can do good things!”