Hobbling out of White Hart Lane on crutches and wearing a protective boot, Harry Kane provided a worrying sight for Tottenham after the 100th start for his boyhood club.
The striker, last season’s most lethal scorer in the Premier League, is facing a spell on the sidelines just when his campaign was getting going after a frustrating few months.
A side-footed strike against Sunderland on Sunday, to secure a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the struggling north-east team, followed a similar tap-in in the previous weekend’s 4-0 rout of Stoke.
For the first time in six months Kane had scored in consecutive Premier League games, putting a miserable, goalless European Championship with England behind him.
But now Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is anxiously awaiting the results of assessment of Kane’s right ankle after he was carried off on a stretcher toward the end of Sunday’s game in north London.
Pochettino is hoping the scans show a ligament injury rather than a fracture.
“It was tough. He twisted the ankle,” Pochettino said. “Now he feels pain in his ankle and we will see tomorrow … it’s difficult without Harry but that’s the reason we signed Vincent (Janssen).”
Thanks to the 23-year-old Kane, in his third season as a key member of Tottenham’s team, the north London club has its third win of the season.
Tottenham was struggling to break down Sunderland until the easiest of finishes from Kane in the 59th minute.
Kyle Walker’s cross was headed down by Dele Alli and Sunderland defender Papy Djilobodji missed the clearance completely, allowing Kane to seize his chance.
Tottenham shouldn’t have been so reliant on Kane’s contribution, having bombarded the Sunderland goal with 31 shots with little joy. But unlike in Wednesday’s loss to Monaco in their Champions League group-stage opener, Spurs found a way to collect all three points.
“We felt comfortable and felt like we needed to keep being patient and moving the ball quicker and knew the chance would come,” Alli said.
Tottenham is only four points off the pace at the top, having won three and drawn two so far.
Sunderland finished the game with 10 men after Adnan Januzaj received a second yellow card in the 90th minute for a foul on Ben Davies. It compounded a miserable start to the season for new manager David Moyes who has collected only one point from five games.
“We were in the game but we also have to be truthful – it was tough,” Moyes said. “We were hanging in there.”