The introduction of Harry Kane into a deflated Spurs side last season would have raised many eyebrows but now, a year on, Kane is one of the few bright sparks in the squad.
At the start of the season, if you were told that Kane would finish as the club’s top scorer, first choice striker and get over 15 goals in all competitions – many would have just laughed it off.
However, now in the festive period, the above is slowly becoming a reality. Adebayor’s excellent form has ended and Soldado still hasn’t found the form that caused Spurs to spend £26m for his services in 2013. This has given Kane the chance to take the opportunity as first choice striker, which he has done so by the scruff of the neck, scoring 13 goals in all competitions.
But the rise of Kane’s importance over the season is not due to poor performances from others or niggling injuries; but down to the grit, determination and skill demonstrated by Kane to nail down his place in the starting eleven.
In the Europa League group stages, Kane posed as Spurs’ only real threat – bagging 5 goals. Kane’s performances reaped great applause from the fans – a homegrown player who loves the club and is most importantly scoring goals.
Kane’s performances have demonstrated something beyond a talent to fans, but something refreshing at Spurs – the sign of a local lad who loves football, loves the club and loves what he’s doing. It’s great to see a lad who dreamed of pulling on the lilywhite shirt when he younger, work his way up the club (via loans at Leyton Orient, Norwich City, Leicester City and Milwall) to play in front of 36,000 people and reap the rewards of his hard graft.
In the days of modern football where youngsters are given up on and billions are instead loaded on some fancy-named player from elsewhere in Europe, Kane has been able to defy the odds. Much of this is also down to the willingness of Mauricio Pochettino to place utmost trust in the young man. The stereotypical connotations of the modern footballer are often associated with phrases such as “they don’t care”, which could be applicable to many in the Spurs squad according to some fans. Refreshingly, Kane is not in this bracket, proved in his tenacity and commitment.
It is well documented that Spurs are a side capable of playing some nice football, whilst being toothless in attack and weak minded at the back. Yet, Kane is fast becoming a player teams are wary of and is slowly gaining more and more recognition – not only on Match Of The Day.
Kane has bagged 3 Premier League goals this season in 12 appearances but has scored 2 goals in 6 starts and it’s been his enthusiasm, creativity and impact which have made the “Kane gain” so significant to Spurs.
Prior to the annual Spurs collapse at Stamford Bridge, Kane was running the show and was extremely unlucky not to get on the scoresheet on at least one occasion.
Against Everton, Kane was key to both goals, firstly slaloming his way through the Everton defence before his shoot was saved and followed up by Eriksen and then starting the move off for Soldado’s goal with a magnificent slide tackle.
He has brought something completely different to the field, that nose for sniffing out goals, the tireless work rate, the harassing of defenders, creativity and an excellent range of passing which has led to pundits and fans linking him to Spurs legend, Teddy Sheringham. Similar to Sheringham, Kane does not posses blistering pace or the athleticism of a quarter-back but instead plays the game in his clever footballing mind. Brad Friedel recently stated that Kane was one of the best finishers he’s ever played with – and for a man with 20 years of football under his belt, fans can be excited by what is certainly high praise for the youngster.
If Soldado’s form was not quite so disappointing, it would be intriguing to know if Kane’s performances would subsequently improve. This is not the call for the axing of Soldado, but just a taster of how one great striker could further enhance Kane and the team also. A Wilfried Bony, for example, leading the attack could be an exciting acquisition to see the impact on the team and Kane in particular.
At the moment, the ‘Hurrikane’, is playing the best football of his life and is taking the opposition, fans and the media by storm (if you’d pardon the pun).
However, in this country, we know that Kane will receive great media attention, masses of pressure, mockery if he misses a chance and all Spurs fans can hope is that this never becomes too intense, or at least that it doesn’t damage his confidence.
There will hit a point soon when Kane hits a drought – as every player does – and his patience and confidence will be tested. We’ve got to hope he can continue his current form and become a legend one day.