Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino: Time for Vincent Janssen to step up
LONDON -- Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has urged "fighter" Vincent Janssen to seize his opportunity while Harry Kane is injured.
Kane damaged his right ankle ligaments in Sunday's 1-0 win over Sunderland, shortly after scoring the winner, but Pochettino has refused to put a timeframe on the striker's return.
The England forward is expected to miss at least six weeks, however, meaning an extended run in the team for summer signing Janssen -- starting with Wednesday's EFL Cup third-round match against Gillingham.
Pochettino was convinced to spend £17 million on Janssen after watching him in the Netherlands' draw in Dublin in May and he hopes the Tottenham supporters will see his quality during Kane's absence.
"It wasn't a good game for Holland, but it's true in this moment we realised he was a good signing for us. It confirmed it. [He] ticked all of the boxes that we needed," Pochettino told a news conference.
"Janssen has already shown the supporters he has a big passion to play, they have been excited to see him on the pitch and the energy he brings.
"This is a big opportunity for him to show what he can do and he has to be ready now that Harry is injured, and the damage is done. There is scope for him to play more from the start.
"He's athletic, he's very competitive, his mentality is very good. He's a very nice guy but he's very strong, he likes to work very hard. It's very good.
"He's a fighter, his mentality is fantastic, he fits very well with us in the team. Only he needs time to adapt his game to the team. Now I think that he will have a big opportunity to show his real quality."
Janssen finished as top scorer in his first and only season in the Eredivisie but he scored 21 of his 27 goals for AZ Alkmaar in a remarkable run after the winter break.
He is yet to score in six appearances for Spurs but Pochettino does not believe the 22-year-old was a risky signing, however, explaining that it was difficult to buy another striker with Kane already at the club.
"No, it's not a risk. He's a good profile for us.
"Look at the example of Manchester City. The main striker is [Sergio] Aguero. The second, is [Kelechi] Iheanacho. [Wilfried] Bony went one year and a half ago, they paid £35-40 million for Bony -- I don't know -- it's tough to bring a No. 1 player when you have another No. 1. Always, it's very difficult."
Pushed for details on Kane's injury, Pochettino preferred to allow his assistant manager Jesus Perez to clarify the situation.
"At the moment, the swelling is quite big so it's impossible for the scan to give the exact extent of the damage around the ankle, so this why you can't give a timeframe," Perez explained.
"They can't say any grade [of ligament damage] yet because the scan did not show a clear diagnosis -- the swelling is there. And they are changing the grades, there are too many grades now -- 1,2,3, a, b, c! He will be re-scanned [when the swelling has subsided]."
Asked if there could be lasting damage for the England striker, Perez said: "The ligament heals good or bad but it heals, and the join adjusts from the previous injuries.
"Of course, it's like an accident, never again the car is the same or never again you know. But no problems to recover from injuries!"
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.