Starting Harry Kane in Champions League final would be risk, says Rafa Benitez

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane attends a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur's Enfield Training Centre, north London, on May 27, 2019 ahead of their UEFA Champions League Final football match against Liverpool. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images) 1:33
Rafa Benitez says it would be a risk for Tottenham to start Harry Kane in the Champions League final, but Edgar Davids believes he can play without being full fit

Mauricio Pochettino would be taking a risk if he decided to start Harry Kane in the Champions League final, says Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.

Kane has been out since suffering an ankle injury in the quarter-final first-leg win over Manchester City last month, but has returned to training ahead of the final against Liverpool on Saturday.

In his absence, Lucas Moura scored a hat-trick in the semi-final against Ajax to drag Spurs from 3-0 down on aggregate to a place in the final on away goals.

When asked about starting Kane in Madrid, Benitez said: "That is the main question, whether you play him coming back from injury or not.

Fabian Delph tackles Harry Kane
Image: Kane suffered his injury in a challenge with England team-mate Fabian Delph

"The only one who can make the right decision is Pochettino, because he knows the player and he has been watching training.

"The player will say 'yes, I am fine', because he will be desperate to play the final. So he has to talk with the medical staff and decide.

"If you are asking me 'what would you do?' I cannot give you any answer because I haven't seen the player. It is a big decision.

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"They were doing so well and the players up front are so dynamic, to change that and put a player who is maybe not fully fit is a risk. We have to wait and see how confident Pochettino is with the fitness of Harry Kane."

While Benitez believes Spurs should be cautious over the fitness of Kane, Edgar Davids feels the striker could still make the difference even if he is not fully fit.

Edgar Davids, Rafa Benitez and John Barnes
Image: Edgar Davids, Rafa Benitez and John Barnes were speaking at a panel discussion at the Hotels.com Champions Retreat in Madrid

Davids, who spent 18 months at Spurs, said: "He's 25 so that means he is still young. He's still in the bloom of his career. You recover quick when you are that young.

"It depends on the coach and the strategy. At the end of the day he's a striker and a striker doesn't have to run that much. He just has to finish the chance he gets.

"For a striker it's different to a midfield player that really has to go box to box and chase and attack. The tactics are crucial in this one."

'Spurs must deal with Liverpool intensity'

Benitez says the key to deciding which side will win the Champions League final will be whether Tottenham are able to deal with Liverpool's intensity.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline
Image: Benitez is expecting to see an intense Liverpool in Madrid on Saturday

The former Liverpool boss, who led them to European glory in 2005, said: "Liverpool will try to start with intensity from the first minute, and Tottenham will try to manage it.

"It depends if Pochettino decides to play four at the back or five at the back and whether they will have more options to keep the ball.

"We will see how Tottenham manage this pressure. If they can keep the ball, they are quite dangerous with players between the lines. But if Tottenham are attacking high, Liverpool are quite dangerous also on the counter-attack."

Follow the Champions League final on Sky Sports

You can follow all of the action of Tottenham vs Liverpool from the Wanda Metropolitano on the Sky Sports App and skysports.com with our dedicated Champions League final live blog, which will feature the best build-up, commentary and reaction from Madrid.

The Champions League final will take place on Saturday, June 1; Kick-off is at 8pm.

Rafa Benitez, Edgar Davids and John Barnes were talking at the Hotels.com UEFA Champions League Retreat in Madrid. Hotels.com is the Official Travel Partner of the UEFA Champions League.

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