England captain Harry Kane is pinning his World Cup fitness on the doctor labelled a “genius” by US Open golf champion Justin Rose.
Telegraph Sport understands that Dr Alejandro Elorriaga Claraco is the Canadian-based Spanish sports medicine specialist who Kane has secretly employed for almost three years to try to solve his ankle and hamstring problems.
Kane revealed ahead of the defeat to Italy that he has been working with a personal physio who he flies to England for a week each month after having him recommended by another sporting friend the striker described as “another athlete.”
It is unclear whether or not the recommendation came from Rose, as Elorriaga has worked with a host of sports stars, including Olympic gold medalists.
But Kane is a golf fanatic and Rose, who he has met on several occasions, has previously gone on record as crediting Elorriaga for one of the reasons for his success.
In an interview with the Times, in which he explained his personal conditioning programme, Rose, who won the US Open in 2013, said: “Then there is Alejandro Elorriaga, a genius of a man. With him I do between 50 and 100 hours of acupuncture each year. It is very intensive. He’ll come for a day or two and basically do a short MoT of my body for eight to 10 hours a day. I sometimes think it’s like [ten-pin] bowling with the bumpers up. If I veer left or right, there is somebody to edge me back on to track.”
It is understood that Kane works with Elorriaga personally, away from Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground, flying him to England and working with him at his own expense.
“I'll use him maybe one week of the month,” said Kane. “He doesn't live in the UK, so he comes over one week a month and stays with me.”
Kane did not name Elorriaga, but speaking generally about his work , he said: “He's been really great for me, we've worked for hours and hours over the three years, built up a really good relationship and I've seen changes in my body in terms of what my ankles were like before and now after. I'm in a totally different place. So it's really pleasing.”
'We are going to be judged on what happens come November'
Kane was frustrated in his efforts to move another step closer to surpassing Wayne Rooney’s England goalscoring in Milan on Friday night, but insisted the nation must not panic about another defeat.
England have now gone five games without a victory or scoring a goal from open play with only one more match, against Germany at Wembley on Monday night, before the World Cup.
But Kane said: “We’re not panicking, we know we want to improve. I don’t think it’s any time to get too high when you're winning games, or too low when you’re losing games.
“I believe we are going to be judged on how we perform in Qatar. We’re just in one of those moments where it’s not quite going our way and we’re confident we can turn that around.
“We have one more game on Monday to try to get some good feelings back. Ultimately, once we get to the World Cup we will be ready for that first game and be fully focused on that.”
The defeat in Italy invited more pressure on England manager Gareth Southgate, who was booed by some of the travelling supporters at the final whistle in Milan.
'We need to improve, we know that'
But Kane said: “I understand the frustration of the fans. I was an England fan and still am an England fan whether I’m playing or not. I understand it. But, ultimately, we are going to be judged on what happens come November.
“If we have a successful tournament, I’m not sure people will be worried about the spell we had over the summer, and that’s the bottom line. We need to improve, we know that.
“The fans are always great and stick with us. I know they will be there on Monday supporting us and everyone will be excited about the World Cup, regardless of what happens. Hopefully, we can repay them with some good results.”
On Southgate, who has insisted he is prepared to take criticism on his shoulders, Kane added: “Gareth is always there to try and do that (protect the players). But we know as players that we need to do better. We’re just not quite, especially from an attacking front, doing the business at the moment.
“We’re a really strong group. We’re always honest with one another.
Amongst ourselves we are always talking about how we can improve. The players are ultimately the ones on the pitch and need to take that responsibility.
“It’s disappointing, for sure, but I’m a confident guy. I know the strikers and attacking players here are confident players. It’s not going to affect us too much. We just need to try to turn that around, and that starts on Monday.”