Rookie Mason faces ultimate test in bid to end Tottenham trophy drought

Kane hobbled off in Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Everton this month and missed Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Southampton in which Gareth Bale played up front and scored.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane has already made over 40 appearances this season despite missing a few games due to an ankle injury.   -  Getty Images

This Sunday's League Cup final was billed as a showdown between old adversaries Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho but after a seismic week for Tottenham Hotspur it is rookie boss Ryan Mason trying to deliver their first silverware for 13 years.

Local boy Mason was elevated into the spotlight after Mourinho's sacking on Monday, a day after Tottenham were named as one of 12 founders of the doomed Super League.

READ: Chelsea will regain fans' trust after Super League fiasco: Tuchel

With the football world focused on the turmoil caused by the proposed breakaway, the 29-year-old Mason's first game as interim manager on Wednesday, a hard-fought 2-1 Premier League win over Southampton, was partially lost in the storm.

Should Mason get the better of managerial heavyweight Guardiola at Wembley, it will make a much bigger impact.

Mourinho was hired 17 months ago at huge expense to deliver the trophies that have proved so elusive.

Yet it is former Spurs midfielder Mason, in only his second game since stepping up from his youth development role, who now has the chance to succeed where Mourinho failed.

ALSO READ: Best thing about Super League is that it did not happen, says Klopp

"This is not about me, it's about the football club," Mason, who retired in 2018 as a consequence of injuries sustained while playing in a game for Hull City against Chelsea, told reporters.

"It's not about my ego, or me going up against Pep."

Mason played in Tottenham's last League Cup final -- a defeat by Chelsea in 2015 in the early days of Mauricio Pochettino. Tottenham was the underdog in that game, but is even less fancied to beat Manchester City on Sunday.

Kane will be not risked in Cup final: Mason

Tottenham Hotspur will not play striker Harry Kane in the League Cup final if there is any risk of him doing more damage to his injured ankle, interim-manager Ryan Mason said on Friday.

Kane hobbled off in Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Everton this month and missed Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Southampton in which Gareth Bale played up front and scored.

With a first trophy since 2008 tantalisingly close, even if Sunday's opposition is Manchester City, Tottenham's chances would be greatly-enhanced by having the Premier League's leading scorer available. But Mason looked doubtful on Friday.

READ: De Bruyne, Aguero back for Man City as Guardiola eyes fourth League Cup  

"He didn't train with the team today but we'll have more of an idea tomorrow to see if we can get him back on the pitch," the 29-year-old, who has been placed in charge after Monday's sacking of Jose Mourinho, told reporters.

"It's a case of taking it hour by hour now. So the days are obviously running out. Harry is a top professional. What we are not going to do and what Harry is not going to do is put his body on the line if he does not think it is suitable.

"We are never going to put Harry in that position, absolutely not. We will see how he is tomorrow and we can make a decision from there. Ultimately, we'll speak to him -- 'how do you feel?' -- and go from there."

The final will have 2,000 fans from each club in an 8,000-limit attendance as the government uses it as a test event for a return to crowds in the wake of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.