England captain Harry Kane has left Tottenham fans fearing the worst after failing to report for pre-season, but Harlequins hero Joe Marler insists his own absence is far more innocent.
It’s expected that Kane, 28, has rebelled against Spurs’ summer plans in order to force a transfer to Manchester City, having been linked with the Premier League champions for much of the summer.
Marler, 31, is also a respected name in his field after he was named man of the match for Quins’ Premiership final win over Exeter Chiefs in June, though he ensures he’s not trying to force any exit.
The England prop appeared on talkSPORT and said while he’s yet to call in for summer training at Harlequins, it’s only because he’s owed paternity leave following the birth of his fourth child.
When co-host Jamie O’Hara suggested Marler had ‘done a Harry Kane’ by failing to return for pre-season, he retorted: “Woah, woah, woah, this ain’t a protest! It’s just that I have forgot the dates. No, that’s not fair, I’ve actually taken a delayed paternity leave.
“So my missus had a kid in…when was it? Six, seven weeks ago and it was around the [Premiership] semi-final time.
“And I said to the boss, ‘I’m going to have to take paternity, mate. I’ve looked in the contract, I’ve never had paternity before and apparently you can get away with it.’
“He said, ‘That’s alright, when are you going to take it?’ And I said, ‘Well, as soon as the baby comes – that’s kind of what it’s for.’
“And he said, ‘But that’s the semi-final and potential final?’ I said. ‘Yeah sorry mate, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.’
“So I said I’ll take it delayed, so this is just one of the delayed points.”
Marler—who has earned 72 caps for England—was crowned a Premiership champion for the second time in his career after beating Exeter at Twickenham in June.
Quins face a mountainous task in their efforts to become back-to-back champions for the first time, especially with Saracens returning to the Premiership this coming season.
Like Tottenham, Harlequins will also head into the new campaign with a fresh face at the helm after Nuno Espirito Santo was named Jose Mourinho ’s long-term successor.
Tabai Matson was appointed to the head position at Harlequins at the beginning of July, and he’ll face the unenviable task of attempting to raise standards at a team that’s just won the title.
Marler added the new man at the helm was in the dark regarding his pre-season absence: “He doesn’t know yet! If he is listening, this is the first time he is hearing it. Brilliant.”
There are still plenty of question marks regarding Kane’s future in north London and whether he’ll return to Tottenham, whereas supporters can relax knowing Marler is on his way back to The Stoop.
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