Soccer-Conte hesitant to drop misfiring Kane ahead of busy schedule

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - December 2, 2021 Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane reacts Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs /File Photo

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte said he is not prepared to drop out-of-form striker Harry Kane from the team ahead of a hectic festive schedule, with eight games in all competitions remaining in December.

England captain Kane, 28, was Tottenham's top scorer last season but has only one league goal this campaign, which came in the 3-2 win at Newcastle United in October.

"To start a game without Harry now is a bit difficult for me. Honestly, we are talking about an important player for us, an important player for all," Conte said.

"I hope to improve the situation, to improve the confidence of all the players and to see that maybe without Harry we can cover the situation -- not in the same way, but in a way that can be good to get the three points.

"Now in this moment, honestly, I don't see this team starting without Harry."

Tottenham, sixth in the league with 22 points, host 19th-placed Norwich City on Sunday.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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