I can play Dele Alli as a false No 9 like Lionel Messi

I can play Dele Alli as a false No 9 like Lionel Messi

Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham Hotspur have enough forward options to cope with the loss of Harry Kane, including the possibility of using Dele Alli in a central attacking role.

Pochettino cited the way Lionel Messi is sometimes used by Barcelona and Eden Hazard’s shifting position at Chelsea as he outlined his plans to deal with the absence of Kane.

The England captain has been ruled out until March after damaging ankle ligaments during last Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United, and with Son Heung-min away on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup, the Tottenham manager has been forced to rethink his front line.

Fernando Llorente, the 33-year-old Spain international, is the only recognised centre-forward at Pochettino’s disposal for Sunday’s visit to Fulham. The manager, though, insists he can reshape his team if necessary and, having watched Messi operate as a “false nine” for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey defeat of Levante on Thursday, believes Alli is one of the players who could be used in a more advanced role.

“Yesterday I was watching Barcelona and the striker was Leo Messi,” said Pochettino, whose options are further limited by the likely absence of Lucas Moura, who has not yet fully recovered from a knee injury. “You can play Llorente, you can play Dele Alli, you can play Erik Lamela, you can play [youngsters] Kazaiah Sterling, Troy Parrott, I don’t know. You can play many, many players. It’s not that you have to play with one specific striker.

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