Joe Willock scored late on to salvage relegation-threatened Newcastle United a potentially massive point in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham, who missed the chance to go fourth.   At the end of a week in which Harry Kane's future was something of a hot topic, it was only fitting for the England captain to score twice, but they were pegged back in the closing stages as Jose Mourinho's Spurs flattered to deceive again.   Having already gone extremely close to opening the scoring, Newcastle went in front through Joelinton, but six minutes later the home side trailed – Kane's predatory instincts on show as he scored a quick-fire brace.   But less than a minute after Kane hit the post in the second half, Willock – who is on loan from Spurs' bitter rivals Arsenal – blasted in from close range to seal a deserved point for Steve Bruce's men.

This month's EFL Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham at Wembley will be attended by 8,000 spectators as part of a government test event.

The clash was pushed back from its original February 28 date to April 25 in the hope that supporters would be allowed to attend in some capacity.

With less than three weeks to go until the showdown between City and Spurs, the game has been confirmed as a pilot event to test the return of big crowds.

A proportion of tickets will be made available to both Premier League clubs, with the rest given to local residents in Brent and NHS staff.

The plan is to ensure the safe return of mass gatherings as coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease in England.

It has already been announced that 4,000 locals will be present for the FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton on April 18, while 21,000 could be in attendance for the FA Cup final on May 15.

Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, said in a statement on Sunday: "The Carabao Cup is a prized asset of the EFL, a great competition for clubs to win and always a fantastic occasion so we are absolutely delighted to see supporters back for the 2021 final, in what will hopefully be another important milestone along the way to a full return of fans.

"Football has lots of expertise in crowd management so we welcome the opportunity to support the government in its Events Research Programme and will also take great pride in hosting NHS staff at the final to whom we owe so much for their momentous efforts throughout the pandemic.

"The EFL's broad objective has always been to seek fans return to stadia as soon as it is safe to do so and we welcome the opportunity to play our part working collaboratively with Wembley Stadium, local authorities and specialists overseeing the research programme. 

"These collective efforts will be crucial as we seek a return for fans of EFL clubs for the play-offs and start of the 2021-22 season, so that our members can plan with confidence."

The World Snooker Championship, which runs from April 17 to May 3, will be the first sporting event to be included in the trial and up to 1,000 spectators will attend each day.

Harry Kane has been linked with a move away from Tottenham this upcoming transfer window.

But the England forward has another three years on his contract and a deal will not come easy for suitors.

Manchester City are the latest club to be linked with Kane, as they assess their options if they cannot land Erling Haaland this close-season.

 

TOP STORY - TOTTENHAM WARD OFF KANE INTEREST

Tottenham have placed a £175million price tag on Harry Kane amid reports of interest in their star captain.

The Sun has reported Tottenham are unwilling to sell Kane, let alone to a Premier League rival such as City.

Kane is understood be content to stay at Tottenham and the price tag will likely deter any continental interest.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are willing to sell one Norwegian Martin Odegaard, who is on loan at Arsenal, to generate the funds required to land his compatriot Haaland, according to The Times. The Gunners are understood to be keen to sign Odegaard permanently.

- Barcelona are lining up Inter's Lautaro Martinez as a possible signing if they fail to win the race for Haaland, reports Spanish publication Sport.

- Tuttosport claims that Juventus are readying a move to bring Moise Kean back to Turin from Everton after starring on loan at Paris Saint-Germain.

- Spanish outlet ABC is reporting that both Manchester United and Chelsea are keen on Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez.

Tottenham coach Jose Mourinho says he is expecting the upcoming off-season transfer window to be "strange" in light of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic of football clubs.

Spurs have attracted speculation around potential off-season transfer activity revolving around goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and forward Harry Kane.

Mourinho played down any talk of Kane exiting, insisting they have not spoken about his future and that he expects this off-season to be unusual although he would not be drawn on Spurs' transfer priorities.

"We know what we want, but at the same time we can all expect a strange summer," Mourinho said ahead of Tottenham's Premier League match with Newcastle on Sunday.

"I believe that it is going to be a bit strange in the sense of a different transfer window than in previous seasons, but in this moment I don’t think it is about anyone fighting for his future.

"I think it is about everyone fighting for the points we need to finish the season the best that we can."

Kane is a regular topic of transfer speculation with Manchester City the latest club linked with the England forward.

"No. He works so well every day," Mourinho said when asked if the pair had spoken about his future.

"He is such a professional, committed with the team, performing well. I've nothing to speak with him.

"Three years of his contract [left]. I have nothing to speak with him about. Unless he wants to speak with me about it and until now he never approached me in relation to anything."

On Lloris, who has just over 12 months left on his Tottenham contract, Mourinho added: "You know I don’t want to offend anyone and I hope that people just accept my opinion.

"We have, in my opinion, the best goalkeeper in England and the best English goalkeeper [Joe Hart].

"So I am so happy with that that I don’t think about what can happen or not happen. Hugo has a contract, Joe has a contract. I'm so happy with both."

Jose Mourinho refused to "play that game" as his media conference ahead of Tottenham's clash with Newcastle United was dominated by questions about Harry Kane's future.

Tottenham head into Sunday's meeting at St James' Park knowing they can ill-afford a slip-up against the relegation-threatened Magpies as they pursue a place in the Premier League's top four and Champions League qualification.

Despite their position in the table - sixth, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea - talisman Kane, rather than a return to Europe's elite club competition, was the primary topic of conversation as Mourinho spoke with reporters.

Kane is under contract until 2024 but has recently said he will not decide his future until after this year's rescheduled European Championship, for which England are among the favourites.

He was on target in England's wins over Albania and Poland as the Three Lions followed up an emphatic victory over San Marino to take maximum points from their opening 2022 World Cup qualifying fixtures.

Kane netted in his last game for Spurs, a 2-0 win at Aston Villa, and Mourinho is more interested in him replicating that display rather than any talk about a possible transfer.

"I cannot play that game," he replied when asked about speculation surrounding Kane. 

"I have to focus on what he is for us, of course I'm always pleased when my players go to national teams and they do well.

"I'm happy he does well for England, but I cannot play that game of what the people say, doesn't say. I focus on what he did for us in the last match against Villa, I focus on the effort that I saw him put on the pitch for England and I focus on the match against Newcastle, he will be there for the team and that's where I have to focus.

"I don't know if he always has a smile, I know that he is professional. I'm very pleased to have him and I repeat I'm happy to see him and all the other guys when they go to national teams, when they do well, come back after a positive result.

"He's living a good period, he's doing well for club and country. Ahead of him until the end of the season he has nice challenges, a [EFL Cup] final, a Premier League to fight for every point then he has a Euros with a possibility to play a final at Wembley. He has to be happy with the moment he's living.

"I want Harry to be with us. I want Harry to repeat against Newcastle the same performance that he had against Aston Villa. The same commitment, same desire, same team spirit, leadership, that's what I want. I know that I'm going to have that."

Kane will likely have Son Heung-min back for company on Spurs' forward line against Newcastle, Mourinho confirming the South Korea star is fit enough to be selected having not played since sustaining a thigh injury in the North London derby defeat to Arsenal on March 14.

"[Son] is good. He will be selected. He was injured, he trained with the team fully for the first time this morning," added Mourinho. 

"Yesterday he was coming to do partial exercises, not a complete session. This morning was the first day he did it. Last week he didn't train at all, it was impossible for him to play international. It would be impossible if the game was yesterday.

"This time was a good time for him to recover from injury. In this moment we have [Matt] Doherty and Ben Davies out, apart from that, everyone is fit to play."

Premier League stars have returned to their clubs after international duty and now we enter perhaps the most intense stretch of the season.

Will your fantasy league players last the distance or are some showing signs of flagging already? Perhaps the World Cup qualifiers gave you an idea of which stars could deliver for their clubs in the race for those top-four places.

Can Timo Werner rally after his awful miss in Germany's defeat to North Macedonia, or should you look elsewhere for Chelsea players after the Blues' stunning start under Thomas Tuchel.

Our Opta-powered fantasy picks should provide some food for thought ahead of the 30th round of games this weekend.

EDOUARD MENDY

Chelsea, who play West Brom, have shipped just two goals in 10 Premier League games since former Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel arrived, with the German boss making the London side come good on the potential they showed fleetingly during Frank Lampard's reign.

Goalkeeper Mendy had already looked a shrewd addition and he owns the best save percentage (77.4 per cent) among Premier League goalkeepers in 2021. Only Manchester City's Ederson has conceded fewer goals per game this year among keepers with a minimum of 300 minutes of action. Mendy has conceded seven in 12 games at an average of 0.58, while Ederson has been beaten eight times in 15 matches for a 0.53 average since the turn of the year.

LUKE SHAW

Impressed by Luke Shaw's return to England favour? Wait until you hear what he's been achieving at club level. Shaw's Manchester United form has been a sensational second coming for the player who first caught the eye as a teenager with club and country, and he will look to impress against Brighton on Sunday.

The former Southampton left-back has been directly involved in more goals (one goal, four assists) in 2021 than any other Premier League defender, with his 36 chances created making Shaw a clear leader in that field too. Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (24 chances created) sits a distant second on the list.

CESAR AZPILICUETA

Already emerging as a favourite of Tuchel, Azpilicueta has played his part in nine clean sheets with Chelsea in 12 Premier League appearances since the start of the year. That is more than any other defender has managed in the competition across that period of time.

The 31-year-old club captain is leading by example and West Brom's attackers will have their work cut out against the former Marseille defender this weekend. Team-mate Antonio Rudiger, who has played 11 league games in 2021, is one of four players in the top flight to have played a part in eight clean sheets this year.

RIYAD MAHREZ

Leicester City know all about Mahrez and his wily ways on the wing, but whether they can stop the Manchester City star on Saturday is perhaps another matter.

The Algerian, who was a Premier League winner with the Foxes, has been involved in 11 goals in his last 13 Premier League starts (eight goals, three assists). Across his last three league games against Leicester, he has managed two goals and two assists.

SADIO MANE

Could the international break prove to be just the interruption that last year's flagging champions Liverpool needed? Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and co will hope to resume on a positive note when Jurgen Klopp's men tackle Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Five of Mane's seven Premier League goals for Liverpool this season have come away from home, with four of those coming in London – this is his only Premier League campaign so far where he has scored more goals away than at home. The Senegalese has also scored seven Premier League goals against Arsenal, only netting more against Crystal Palace (10). Two of those have come away at Arsenal, including one in a 2-1 defeat last July.

HARRY KANE

In need of a fix of guaranteed points? Tough, they don't exist. But Kane would be close to the top of any all-time list of the Premier League's most reliable scorers, and he already has 17 goals and 13 assists for Tottenham in the competition this season.

Across all competitions, Kane has been involved in 43 goals in 40 games this term (27 goals, 16 assists), and in terms of involvements that haul is just two short of his best ever season in his senior career (41 goals and four assists in 2017-18). Tottenham go to Newcastle on Sunday, with Kane looking to add to the three league goals he has previously bagged at St James' Park.

Lionel Messi has been tipped to leave Barcelona for either Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

But Haaland could reportedly unlock Messi's future.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND TO CITY MEANS BARCA STAY FOR MESSI?

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could hold the key to Lionel Messi's future at Barcelona, according to the front page of Thursday's Diario AS.

Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Barca, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

City have been tipped to sign Messi, but should they step up their pursuit of Haaland, the Premier League leaders could reportedly drop their interest in the Barca captain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says new Barca president Joan Laporta is preparing a contract renewal for Messi, who is set to become a free agent at season's end.

- Bayern Munich are eyeing a move for Tottenham star Son Heung-min, claims Football Insider. Son has reportedly been offered a bumper new contract by Spurs, but the former Bayer Leverkusen forward is wanted in Munich.

- Sporting CP's Joao Palhinha, Borussia Monchengladbach star Denis Zakaria and Sander Berge of Sheffield United are on the list of midfielders to replace City veteran Fernandinho, reports A Bola.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Juventus and Barca are interested in Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli. The Italy defender is out of contract in 2022 and is reportedly seeking a €6million-a-year contract.

Napoli are eyeing Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi and sporting director Igli Tare, claims Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. Gennaro Gattuso has been tipped to leave Napoli at the end of the season, with ex-Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri, Luciano Spalletti and Hellas Verona's Ivan Juric among the possible replacements. But Lazio duo Inzaghi and Tare are being monitored to replace Gattuso and Cristiano Giuntoli in Naples.

United are interested in Lille defender Sven Botman, according to Fabrizio Romano. Sevilla star Jules Kounde has been on United's radar but the club's asking price of €80m (£68m) is too steep.

- Romano also says there is no agreement with United and Paul Pogba over a new contract. Pogba has been linked with former club Juve, Madrid and PSG.

Manchester City will turn to Harry Kane if they cannot land Erling Haaland.

It is widely expected City will go hard to sign the Norway striker, who is being pursued by numerous big clubs.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea are all interested in the Borussia Dortmund man.

 

TOP STORY - KANE IN CITY'S SIGHTS

The Times reports that if City fail to win the race for Haaland's signature they will consider making an offer for Tottenham talisman Kane.

Kane is seven years older than Haaland but has a proven Premier League goal scoring record.

City have already confirmed Sergio Aguero's exit at the end of the season and are in the market to bolster their forward ranks.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail is reporting that City's main priorities in the transfer market are to sign Haaland and Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish, as they turn to a younger generation of talent. The duo are expected to cost £200 million.

- Football Insider has reported Lionel Messi has requested FC Barcelona sign countryman Aguero as part of his own negotiations to stay with the Catalans. Mundo Deportivo claims Aguero is not a priority signing for Barca, with Memphis Depay, Romelu Lukaku and Haaland top of the list.

- Gianluigi Donnarumma has been linked with a host of big clubs and Sky Sport Italia are reporting that contract talks with AC Milan are at a standstill. Milan are allegedly offering €7million per-year deal but the goalkeeper wants more.

- Voetbalkrant are reporting Southampton are interested in Anderlecht's teenage defender Marco Kana.

- Ex-Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin coach Lucien Favre is interested in becoming Celtic's new coach, according to the Daily Mail.

- Fichajes reports Leeds United's Rodrigo is unhappy in England and wants to return to Spain, with Real Betis and Sevilla in the mix.

Wales captain Gareth Bale would support a boycott of social media sites unless greater action is taken to combat online abuse.

International team-mates Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo were victims of racism following the 1-0 friendly win over Mexico last Saturday.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it was "disgusted" by the abuse and urged social media platforms and regulators to take "stronger, more effective and urgent action against this despicable behaviour".

Just two days earlier, former Arsenal and Barcelona star Thierry Henry announced he would be disabling his social media accounts until companies took greater accountability for discriminatory posts.

Speaking ahead of Wales' World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic on Tuesday, Bale agreed that more must be done to clamp down on such behaviour online.

"Something needs to happen," he said. "I think if everyone came together and decided to boycott social media, to make a statement [I would].

"If everybody did it at once, not just one or two people, and if we did a campaign with a lot of big influential people in sport and other forms of life came off social media to make a statement, then yeah, I think it could help.

"If that was the case, I would be all for that.

"I've had a lot of bad things said to me on social media, but I'm sure if they [Cabango and Matondo] wanted to come to me for advice they know where they am.

"We've had a brief chat, I haven't gone into too much details. They've spoken with representatives of the FAW and we know obviously it's in the hands of the police and an ongoing investigation.

"From my point of view, I try to stay off it because there's so many toxic people trying to say negative things and put you down.

"It's nice to be able to share what we do and how we do things, pictures of training and what we're enjoying doing.

"But looking at those comments sometimes it's best to stay away from it, share what you want to share and don't read too much into the comments because there's some horrible people out there."

Gareth Bale is focused on a strong finish to the season, including Wales' Euro 2020 campaign, before contemplating what happens next in his career.

Having become a peripheral figure at Real Madrid, Bale returned to Tottenham for the 2020-21 campaign in a loan move that appeared to be an ideal solution for all parties.

However, the 31-year-old arrived with a knee injury that required rehabilitation, leading to a sedate start to his second spell with Spurs. After waiting until October 18 to feature for the first team, he has completed 90 minutes just once – against Wycombe Wanderers in an FA Cup tie.

Yet there were signs of a return to form prior to the international break, including scoring twice and providing an assist in a resounding 4-0 win over Burnley.

Bale was also on target twice in a Premier League triumph over Crystal Palace, lifting his goal tally into double figures in all competitions.

His immediate focus is on Wales' World Cup qualifying campaign – having lost their Group E opener to Belgium, they host the Czech Republic on Tuesday – while there is no urgency on his part to work out a "solution" to his situation at club level.

"For me, first and foremost, I still have this season, still have plenty of games to go until the Euros," Bale told the media on Monday.

"Going into next season, legally my contract says I have to go back to Real Madrid, which is what I stated. I don't think that was being disrespectful to anybody.

"Real Madrid are my parent club and, as far as I agreed, I'm on loan at Tottenham until the end of the season. That is the plan so far; the reason I left was because I wanted to play games and get match fit, to enjoy my football.

"Obviously, come the summer I will go back to Real Madrid and we will go from there. I think the plan is to go back, whether then I sit down with my agent and decide something, we will do in the summer."

He added: "I want to be playing, but in football it's not just about what you want – it's also about the other side. I'm concentrating on this season – obviously we have a big game tomorrow – a big end of the season with Tottenham, then the Euros in the summer.

"For me, at the moment, I don't need to worry about anything else than this season.

"Regarding next season, after the Euros and my summer holiday, we will sit down and go through something then. Hopefully, we will come up with a solution."

Bale is aiming to finish strongly with Spurs, who have lifted themselves back into the running for a top-four finish in the league. There is also the possibility of securing silverware, with Jose Mourinho's side taking on Manchester City in the EFL Cup final on April 25.

Asked to assess his season so far, the forward replied: "It's been okay. It got off to a slow start as I came into Tottenham with a knee injury. Not having played football continuously for a year and a half, it took a little time to get going.

"The past couple of months I've felt stronger and stronger – I've felt like my form has been there, my speed has been there, I've scored some goals.

"I wish it could have started a lot quicker, but also I'm wise enough to know that it does take a bit of time to get your rhythm back. Now that I'm playing, I feel good and hopefully it can continue for the rest of the season, then into the Euros."

Bale played 84 minutes of last week's 3-1 defeat to Belgium, while he made a late appearance off the bench in the 1-0 friendly win over Mexico on Saturday.

Harry Kane must leave Tottenham if he harbours ambitions of winning trophies, according to Jermain Defoe.

Kane is contracted to Spurs until June 2024, but the England captain revealed he will make a decision on his future after Euro 2020.

Defoe believes the prolific 27-year-old striker will have to turn his back on his boyhood club if he is hungry for medals.

The Rangers and ex-Tottenham striker told Darren Bent’s Boot Room on talkSPORT: "If you'd have asked me this question a few years ago, I'd have said he should have stayed there, what he's done at the football club – he's a legend.

"Since I've come away from that and gone to Rangers, I've seen that mentality and played for another big club, the importance of playing for that club and winning every game, that mentality, the standards and demands.

"You have to win and bring silverware, otherwise it's not good enough. When you actually achieve that and the feeling you get from that, wow man. I wish I had that earlier on in my career.

"If Harry Kane wants that and wants to win trophies then it looks like he has to go.

"I don't think it will be easy for him to leave and he might be looking at it and want to finish off being the highest goalscorer in the club's history and see where that takes him.

"He can hopefully win a few trophies, but if he's really craving medals then he really has to go."

Kane has been directly involved in 30 goals in the Premier League this season (17 goals, 13 assists). The England captain is the first player to reach that total in the 2020-21 competition, while it is the first time he has achieved the feat since 2017-18 (30 goals, two assists).

Tottenham and England star Harry Kane said he will decide his future after the upcoming European Championships.

Kane has been linked with Premier League rivals Manchester United and Manchester City, as well as LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

The 27-year-old striker, who emerged from Tottenham's youth team in 2009, is contracted to Spurs until 2024.

But Kane is shutting out speculation over his future as he prepares for Tottenham's EFL Cup final against City next month and England's bid to claim their first piece of international silverware since 1966 at the rescheduled Euro 2020.

"I think that's a hard question to answer right now," Kane told the Telegraph when asked about the noise surrounding his future at Tottenham.

"It's important that all my focus is on the two England games coming up now and the rest of the season with Spurs and then the Euros.

"To be thinking about speculation or rumours would be damaging in terms of my own performance.

"I always like to be focused on one goal and one job and that's to finish strong with Spurs, win these qualifiers with England and hopefully go on and have a great Euros.

"Look, I try to stay out of that speculation as much as possible.

"I'm fully focussed on doing the job on the pitch from now until the end of the summer, and then we'll see where we go from there."

Jose Mourinho's Tottenham are sixth in the Premier League, three points outside of the Champions League qualification places ahead of the April 25 EFL Cup decider against City.

England have been drawn in Group D for Euro 2020, which gets underway in June, alongside Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic.

Kane has scored 17 Premier League goals this season, while he has netted 27 across all competitions for Tottenham in 2020-21.

Jose Mourinho says he is motivated by his 'Mourinista' supporters around the world in the face of criticism.

Tottenham coach Mourinho has enjoyed a glittering managerial career, winning the Champions League with both Porto and Inter, as well as domestic titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain.

The Portuguese has come in for criticism in recent years for a relative lack of success, however.

Spurs are down in sixth in the Premier League and out of Europe, while their pragmatic style of play has also been the source of scrutiny.

Mourinho is unperturbed, though, as he maintains a large support base worldwide.

"Honestly, I get my strength from myself but mainly from the people that I love and the people who I know they love me, even if many of them I don't know them, I haven't met them," he said at an event with Tottenham's club sponsors.

"I used to call them the 'Mourinistas', because in Portugal we use 'ista' in the end of the name of the club that we love, to express the support.

"For example, if you are from Porto, you say Portista; if you are from Benfica, you say Benficista; and if you are from Mourinho, you say 'Mourinista'.

"I have so many 'Mourinistas' around the world that I play for them."

The Spurs boss also compared his coaching exploits to the expertise of a NASA scientist when describing the folly of media criticism.

"I don't think anybody is going to discuss rocket science with the guys from NASA, with everybody around the world," Mourinho said.

"They think they can discuss football with one of the most important managers in the game. That's the beauty of football.

"I got used to it, I appreciate that, so that's fine for me."

Barcelona have reportedly joined the queue chasing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga outfit Dortmund.

The Norway international could be among a number of new recruits at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND WANTED AT CAMP NOU

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is leading the club's recruitment this off-season and has identified Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as a key target, according to Diario AS.

Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Liverpool.

Koeman is also reportedly eyeing City defender Eric Garcia, Lyon captain Memphis Depay and soon-to-be Liverpool free agent Georginio Wijnaldum.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fresh from netting a hat-trick to knock Tottenham out of the Europa League, Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic has been linked with a move to London rivals Arsenal by The Sun, which claims the Gunners are looking at the Croatian attacker as an off-season signing.

- Marca claims Arsenal will not be able to sign on-loan Martin Odegaard on a permanent deal as parent club Real Madrid see him as part of their long-term future plans.

Roma want either Maurizio Sarri or Massimiliano Allegri to be their next coach to replace Paulo Fonseca, according to Messaggero.

- Calciomercato says rumoured Premier League target Franck Kessie has rejected Milan's latest contract extension offer.

- Schalke's California-born 20-year-old Matthew Hoppe is hot property and Valencia are the latest club to join the chase, alongside TottenhamBarcelona, Ajax and PSV, according to AS.

- The Sun reports in-form Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho will sign a new deal with the club.

Harry Kane will not be allowed to pick and choose when he plays for England, Gareth Southgate has said.

Southgate became embroiled in something of a verbal tussle with Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho earlier this season over the England manager's use of talisman Kane.

The Three Lions captain started twice in the Nations League in November, playing the entire game in a 2-0 loss to Belgium before going off in the 76th minute during a 4-0 rout of Iceland.

Kane is on 32 international goals, 21 shy of Wayne Rooney's all-time record of 53 strikes for the Three Lions.

At 27, Kane has Rooney's record well in his sights, but asked if he will let his skipper choose when he plays over the course of the three World Cup qualifiers coming up for England, Southgate laid down the law.

"If I allowed Harry to make that decision, he'd play every minute!" said Southgate, who will celebrate his 50th match in charge of England when his team host minnows San Marino on Thursday.

"So that won't be happening. It's brilliant we've got a captain who wants to play every minute of every game.

"We've got to be mindful he had extra-time last Thursday and another high-intensity game on Sunday. We've got that situation with a lot of the players really.

"We've got to make sure we manage the fixtures correctly, we've got to manage training this week as well.

"And of course we've got to be just as fresh for the games with Albania and Poland as we do tomorrow night so that's not an unusual challenge for us and our coaching team, and for our medical team and physical performance team.

"But we always communicate well with the players and I think we're in a good place going into the game tomorrow."

Kane has scored 20 goals in 19 appearances in qualifiers for major tournaments, with only Rooney (30) netting more in these games in England's history. 

Southgate, meanwhile, will be the seventh manager to reach the 50th game milestone for the Three Lions.

He has won 29 of his 49 games so far (D10 L10), and a win would see him equal Ron Greenwood and Roy Hodgson's 30 wins in their first 50, but three behind the record of 33 set by Alf Ramsey and Walter Winterbottom.

While Kane will no doubt be a key figure for England this month, two players who may not be involved are Marcus Rashford and Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka.

Rashford is at St George's Park but is struggling with an injury, while Saka is yet to join up with the squad.

"They're both doubtful," Southgate confirmed. "Marcus is more doubtful than Bukayo at the moment but we're going to assess them.

"Marcus has been very keen to be with us. He wasn't with us so much in the autumn so he's been keen to be part of the group.

"Bukayo has been getting assessed at the club but he'll be with us in the next couple of days."

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