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Ryan Mason: 'Harry Kane future will not hinge on CL qualification'

Ryan Mason: 'Harry Kane future will not hinge on CL qualification'
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Tottenham sit seventh in the Premier League, five points outside the top four with five games remaining.

Tottenham interim boss Ryan Mason says Harry Kane's future at the club will not be decided by Champions League qualification this summer.

Kane has been the subject of plenty of transfer speculation this season after he said "we'll see where we go" following this summer's European Championship, and pointed comments this week about wanting to win trophies perhaps gave an indication of his mindset.

Missing out on the top four, which currently looks likely, will be another blow for Spurs in keeping their star man happy but Mason does not think it is a decisive factor.

"I don't think so. Harry Kane loves this football club. That's been proven over the last seven or eight years. He's one of the best strikers in the world," Mason said ahead of this Sunday's clash with already relegated Sheffield United.

"Everyone knows that, we know that and I'd like to think Harry knows that as well.

"The most important thing right now, and our attention right now, is this weekend. We can't disrespect any opponent and we can't be investing our energy into anything else.

"That's all I have to say on the matter. Our attention, Harry's attention, the attention of this whole football club is on this Sunday."

Mason and Kane are close friends off the pitch but the former Spurs midfielder insists he has not held counsel with the striker about his future.

"No, I've not spoken to Harry. Harry is a constant professional," Mason added. "There haven't been and there won't be any conversations with me and him regarding anything apart from the training day or the match ahead.

"He's one of the most professional guys I've ever met in my life so Harry Kane has been training excellently this week. He'll be training excellently tomorrow, I know that, and he'll be ready for the weekend."

Regardless of where Spurs finish in the Premier League it looks a tough job for anyone to get Kane out of the club this summer.

Spurs insist he is not for sale and, with three years left on his contract, it would take an eye-watering figure for them to change their mind – something that does not look likely in the coronavirus era.

Finishing in the top four would help appease Kane, but that is going to be tough as they are five points behind Chelsea with five games to play.

It is probably going to need them to win all of those to stand any chance, starting with the Blades on Sunday.

"Mathematically, yes it's possible," said Mason. "But the Premier League is a difficult league. It's difficult to win five in a row.

"We've seen that this season and probably across the last 10 to 15 years as well. Like I said, our focus is on this weekend. It's a cup final for us.

"Every game is now. We want to go there with confidence, with a positive mindset, put in a positive performance and get a win. That's our sole focus at this moment."

Meanwhile, Spurs have been dealt another blow in their search for a new manager after Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag committed his future to the Dutch club.

The 51-year-old was understood to have been on the shortlist to replace Jose Mourinho, but he will be staying in Amsterdam after signing a contract extension until 2023.

Spurs saw their first-choice candidate Julian Nagelsmann decide to join Bayern Munich this week, while Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has also distanced himself from the role.

Ten Hag said on his club's official website: "I know who I am working with, I know what the ideas are, I know what goals we have. I'm happy here.

"I'm busy with where I am at, that's at Ajax, that's where my head and heart are at. You know what it is like with outside of football tells you that we're doing good work."

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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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