Antonio Conte expresses sympathy with Harry Kane frustration but insists star is now committed to Tottenham

·3-min read
 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Antonio Conte says he can understand Harry Kane’s frustration at Tottenham’s lack of trophies but insists the striker is now totally committed to the club.

Kane tried to force his way out of Spurs over the summer after growing dismayed at the club’s direction and their failure to win any silverware since 2008.

The England captain cut a dejected figure at the start of the season but he was impressed by Spurs’ ambition in appointing Conte, who has won five league titles in his past seven seasons as a coach, and is now more settled at his boyhood club.

Conte, who also won 14 major trophies as a player, has insisted that Spurs must build a solid platform before they are ready to challenge for honours, and he says Kane should be a "starting point" for the club to start to win trophies.

"Yeah, I understand, I understand Harry’s situation," Conte said. "Because for sure when you finish your career and it is good, you can see your appearances and the team wherever you played. But at the same time, I think that it’s right also when you finish your career to see what you have won.

"And I think that this is important especially for players for top, top players. Because sometimes, important and top players finish their career with a couple of titles. And instead other players who are medium or medium-low finish their career with many titles.

"I knew the situation in the summer and when Harry decided to stay in Tottenham I found a player totally involved in this project now.

"I am happy to have him in my team because for sure we are talking about the top player, a top striker in the world, and if we want to win or if we want to think to build something to win, Harry must be a point of start.

"He knows very well my opinion. But I repeat I’m very happy to work with him and I think that he has enjoyed the time, what we are building with the team and that is all."

Conte interviewed for the Spurs job over the summer while Kane was agitating for a move to Manchester City but talks broke down, with the Italian later saying he was still emotionally attached to his former club, Inter Milan. Spurs instead appointed Nuno Espirito Santo, who was sacked as head coach in October.

 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

"In the summer I followed the situation about Harry and I saw what happened and what could happen," Conte added.

"The club decided to keep Harry in the team and I think it was a great choice by the owner. In this way you are showing you want to try to continue to build something important around one of the best players in your team.

"I followed the situation but now it is not right to look at the past. Now we have to live in the present, which says that Harry is a player at Tottenham and continues to be one of the best players in this team.

"He wants to give 100 per cent in every game and I am totally satisfied with his commitment and the relationship that we have created within the team.

"He is a point of reference in the dressing room and an experienced player. I am totally enthusiastic about his involvement in the team and the Tottenham project."

Although Conte has called for time to transform Spurs’ fortunes, he believes his appointment was a signal to their rivals – and the likes of Kane – that the club wants to get used to winning regularly.

"I think that for Tottenham to bring me here, [the club] wanted to send a signal [to the] outside," Conte added. "And maybe also to our players. And now we’ll see what happens because after taking [on] the coach that is used to winning, then you have to do.”

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