Tottenham striker Harry Kane admits the World Cup is on a lot of players’ minds but is determined to give his all for his club before the tournament starts.
Kane will lead England to Qatar in a fortnight but before then he has three games for Spurs as they aim to put the finishing touches on what would be a promising start to the campaign.
Spurs needed a last-gasp goal from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to confirm their qualification for the Champions League knockout stages with a 2-1 win in Marseille on Tuesday, while they are also in the mix at the top end of the Premier League with games against Liverpool and Leeds to come before the break.
There is also a Carabao Cup game with Nottingham Forest sandwiched in between, which means Kane has plenty of things to think about before he can turn his attention to the World Cup.
“I said it before, you try not to think about it,” he said. “I said the World Cup was going to come round really quickly, and it’s come round really quickly.
“We’re in November already and in a couple of weeks we’ll be on the plane and playing the first game in no time.
“I think a lot of players have got it in the backs of their minds but I think the top, top players manage to give 110 per cent no matter what.
“The more you try to think about managing yourself, it sometimes backfires. So, me personally, I’m just trying to focus on the next three games.
“Of course it’s hard not to think about it but if we can have three good results it will put us in a really good place going into the World Cup.”
Spurs got a tonic in Provence thanks to a second-half comeback at the Stade Velodrome.
Having been woken up by fireworks being let off outside their hotel in the middle of the night, Spurs were still asleep in the first half as a listless display in a hostile atmosphere had them heading towards the Europa League.
But second-half goals from Clement Lenglet and Hojbjerg – with the last kick of the game – ensured that Antonio Conte’s men remain in the premier tournament after Christmas.
“It was really important just before the World Cup,” Kane added. “If we’d have gone out, it would have been a real sting because you know you’re coming back from the World Cup and playing Europa League and it’s just not the same feeling.
“So that was really vital. We’ve got three games before the World Cup and hopefully we can use this to finish strongly and if we can be there or thereabouts in the Premier League and get through in the Carabao Cup, it’ll be a really good start to the season.”
Conte was confined to the stands at the Stade Velodrome as he was serving a touchline ban and he was forced to watch on in horror at a first-half display that saw no shots on target and just six completed passes in the opposition half.
Kane revealed that skipper Hugo Lloris was a vocal protagonist in the dressing room at half-time.
“There were a few words said by a few people at half-time, that we had to be more aggressive, have more intensity and I think we came out in the second half and did that,” he said.
“I’m not going to go into all the details but of course Hugo, being the captain, [spoke] and Cristian (Stellini) and Ryan (Mason), obviously standing in for Antonio.
“We’ve been in that situation before this season, which we’re a little more used to than we want to be. But we weren’t panicking which is the most important thing.”