Tottenham's Harry Kane would be revered if he was Italian - Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino believes his "assassin" Harry Kane would be revered and face less criticism from native football supporters and media if he was an Italian player at an Italian club.
Kane has faced questions about his form and fitness this season, amid suggestions he was looking jaded after the World Cup, but after winning the Golden Boot in Russia, he has scored 10 goals in 15 appearances for Spurs this term, and Pochettino believes the changeable perception and coverage of Kane is a cultural phenomenon.
"I think I praise you [the media] a lot and you have very good things here in England, but in the same way you have some things you need to improve with your own players," he said. "Harry Kane is English and sometimes you push [players] to the sky and paradise and then you put them on the outside. Now after six years here I understand a little bit.
"If Harry Kane is Italian and he's playing for an Italian side he's going to be a bit more protected, because the Italian people are more protective of their players. It's difficult to push [them to the top] but when they are there, they try to keep them up there.
"It's similar in Spain. Here it is more up and down. You score, you are the best. If you didn't score, you are a disaster. I think it's not a criticism, it's only an observation. Yes, that is the problem."
Pochettino feels Kane's fixation with scoring goals has sometimes inhibited him, but he believes the 25-year-old is improving in that area.
"He is a killer, an assassin," Pochettino said. "In practice, in everything, he always wants to kill the keeper, everything. He's so determined to score goals.
"That's why when he doesn't score, he's so obsessed with scoring that sometimes it's against him, because sometimes you need more freedom, not to be obsessed.
"But he's going to learn. I think he's now starting to be really mature, because he's still young. I'm not surprised [with what he's achieving] because he's so determined. You need to stop him training because he always wants to train, to improve. It's amazing.
"I've compared him with Gabriel Batistuta because his mentality is similar. Then of course maybe Harry Kane is going to improve on his stats. I know Batistuta very well -- he was my team-mate -- and I know Harry Kane. They are of a similar mind and focus and determination."