Harry Kane welcomed back by Tottenham fans as Dele-naissance helps keep Wolves at bay

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Harry Kane returned to pitch as Tottenham continued their impressive start under Nuno Espirito Santo with a 1-0 win at Wolves.

After missing the matches against Manchester City and Pacos de Ferreira, Kane was named on the bench at Molineux – and entered the fray for the final 20 minutes, with Spurs leading through Dele Alli’s ninth-minute penalty.

The England captain was mocked by his own fans during last weekend’s win over City but his reception from the away end was overwhelmingly positive, with Spurs fans singing, “he’s one of our own,” as Kane prepared to come on.

His introduction sparked three minutes of responding chants from the home supporters, reminding the away end of Kane’s desire to leave the club for Manchester City.

But the striker did not look like a man with his mind elsewhere, and his commitment to the cause was underlined when he was booked for time-wasting in stoppage-time to the derision of the home support.

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Kane looked energetic, if rusty, and helped Spurs to hold up the ball as they saw out a hard-fought win.

He should really have scored when he fired straight at Jose Sa from close range after being slid in by Steven Bergwijn.

At the final whistle, Kane went over the Spurs fans to applaud them before sharing a hug with Nuno – perhaps a sign that he is slowly coming around to the idea of staying at Spurs.

At the very least, his return to action signals a thawing in his relationship with the fans and perhaps the club’s hierarchy, too.

Kane’s desire to join City is thought to be as strong as ever but unless the situation dramatically changes Spurs now know they can call on their talisman while the transfer window is open, with matches against Pacos and Watford still to come before the end of the month.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Spurs cling on in familiar fashion

It was difficult not to draw parallels between this Tottenham performance and many of their most frustrating outings last season under Jose Mourinho.

Spurs were second best after Dele won and scored an early penalty when he burst into the box and was caught by Sa.

For the remainder of the first half, the visitors were on the back foot, as Wolves winger Adama Traore wreaked havoc, often occupying two or three Spurs players at a time.

Spurs had chances to kill off the game – including through Kane’s late effort – as Wolves pushed more and more players forward but they were also indebted to captain Hugo Lloris for making a fine save when Traore burst through one-on-one following a mistake by Eric Dier.

Ultimately, though, unlike Mourinho’s reign, Spurs had the fitness, defensive organisation and the conviction to hold on to a precious three points, leaving Nuno with two wins from his first two League games.

At the very least, it felt like a better version of Mourinho's contain-and-counter approach, although supporters will want Spurs to be more expansive in future.

It is still early days under the Portuguese and at this stage of the season – and his project – results are more important than performances, though.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Dele and Skipp make case for England inclusion

England manager Gareth Southgate was watching at Molineux and there was plenty for him to consider ahead of next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

Regardless of his fitness or focus, Kane will be included in the squad – and talk of his situation is sure to dominate the camp, with England due to train at St. George’s Park on transfer deadline day – but it will be intriguing to see if he is joined by any other Spurs players.

Southgate said leaving Dier out of the European Championship was his hardest decision in naming the final squad and the centre-half has looked more solid in two outings under Nuno.

He was, though, nearly guilty of a costly error, stepping out of defence and losing possession to Neves, who played in Traore for Wolves’ best chance of the afternoon. Hugo Lloris denied the winger to spare Dier’s blushes.

If Dier is to earn a recall under Southgate – and perhaps oust Wolves Conor Coady from the squad – he must cut out the lapses.

Dele, meanwhile, continued to impress in his new midfield role and could be an outside bet for an England recall this month.

After catching the eye with his harrying and pressing against City but failing to have a single touch in the box, there was evidence of the old Dele as he burst into the penalty area to win the penalty.

But he was also committed off the ball again, winning a number of tackles and even flinging himself in front of a Raul Jimenez shot.

And then there was Oliver Skipp, who put in another battling display for Spurs in the middle of the park. With central midfield still England’s problem area, do not rule out Southgate wanting to take a closer look at the 21-year-old.

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