Tottenham striker Vincent Janssen wants to make it impossible for Mauricio Pochettino to drop him even when Harry Kane returns from injury.
Janssen hopes to prove he is ready not just to be a stand-in for Kane but to play alongside the England forward, who is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after damaging ligaments in his ankle.
Kane’s absence will give Janssen an extended run in Pochettino’s starting line-up and the Dutchman opened his account in a 5-0 thrashing of Gillingham on Wednesday, as Spurs cruised into the EFL Cup fourth round. They will next face Liverpool at Anfield.
Janssen converted a second-half penalty after Christian Eriksen had already scored twice, before Joshua Onomah and Erik Lamela completed the rout at White Hart Lane.
The 22-year-old, an £18.5million signing from AZ Alkmaar in July, was expected to play second fiddle to Kane this season but he has other ideas. He now has to avoid being the next Roberto Soldado.
“I am ready to play. I feel bad for Harry but if he is fit I want to play with him,” Janssen said.
“He is a very good player. We played some games together and it went very well. He has a lot of qualities – he is one of the best strikers in the world so it is nice to play together with him.
“I can learn a lot from him but at the end I want to play a lot with him. It is nice that he is here.”
Janssen was a threat throughout against Gillingham but he missed a number of opportunities and is unlikely to find Premier League opposition so generous.
He was also the beneficiary of Eriksen’s goodwill, given the Dane passed up the chance of a hat-trick when he allowed Janssen to take the penalty.
“I had a conversation with Chris and he told me I could take it,” Janssen said.
“So I have to thank him for that. Erik (Lamela) asked me and I said I was going to take it. It was normal – you discuss it with the players and I thought it was my chance so I took it.”
Janssen was playing in the second tier of Dutch football only two years ago and, even after joining AZ last term, it took him nine games to register a goal.
Once settled, however, Janssen caught fire, with 21 goals in 17 appearances after Christmas, and he insists it is only a matter of time before he hits form for Spurs.
“It is nice to get the first goal but it is not the most important thing,” Janssen said.
“I have enough confidence and, if I hadn’t scored (on Wednesday), for me I was sure I would score in the next game.
“You know that when you come to England there are a lot of players who like to play a more physical game. I like that also so it is not a problem – I just have to adapt.”