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Followers of the Premier League and European football in general would have surely heard one name from the streets on North London. No, not Alexis Sanchez but, a 21 year-old forward across the lane, named Harry Kane. The stock of the Spurs’ academy product have risen multifold after his breakthrough season with the Spurs first team.
For those who don’t follow the English league or Spurs that much, Harry Kane is 21 year-old forward from Chingford, London. A graduate of Tottenham’s youth academy, Kane has represented the club in all age groups before announcing himself to everyone on the big stage.
Kane has an interesting history especially when it comes to North London. The Englishman spent one year with neighbors and bitter rivals Arsenal’s youth academy when aged 8, but he was rejected by the Gunners and after two months at Watford’s academy, a move to Spurs took place.
Kane was showing promise at the youth level for both club and country but a managerial merry-go-round at White Hart Lane prevented him from being a regular member of the first team. He had impressive loan spells with Leyton Orient and Millwall in 2011 and 2012 respectively. He was later farmed out to Norwich in the 2012/13 season after pre-season and a few substitute appearances, but an injury ravaged season stunted his development as he only made three appearances for the Canaries. Later that season in February, Kane joined Leicester City on loan and went on to make 13 appearances and also scored 2 goals in that spell.
Talent Radar Accolades
In the 2013/14 season, Kane was drafted into the Spurs first team by Tim Sherwood and showed sparks of his talent by scoring in his first Premier League start in Spurs’ 5-1 win over Sunderland. He followed it with yet another goal as he helped Spurs to overcome a 3-0 deficit against West Brom to draw the game 3-3.
The world then saw the full potential of this English forward in the 2014/15 season as he pumped in 31 goals for Spurs in all competitions. This was first time since Gary Lineker in 1991/92 that any Spurs forward has scored 30+ goals in a single season. Speaking of Lineker, Harry Kane has drawn comparisons with quite a few England and Premier League greats like Alan Shearer as well. Shearer’s Newcastle United teammate Rob Lee has praised the young striker by comparing him to Shearer.
Using Kicca, Lee said, “Harry Kane reminds me of a young Alan Shearer. When I say he is like him I mean in the way he conducts himself both on and off the pitch.”
He continued, “Despite all the talk he still has a long way to go to reach Alan’s level, after all he is the Premier League’s leading goalscorer.
“But if he goes on to become half the striker Alan was that will make him a great player.”
Talent Radar Accolades:
Part of the 2014-15 Team of the Season
Part of the 2014-15 Premier League Team of the Season
Finished 3rd in the 2014-15 Forward Rankings
The Spurs hitman has all the attributes of a modern day forward. He is good while in possession and also works hard without it. With all these qualities, there is still some amount of bullishness in his game which is reminiscent of the traditional centre-forwards or the number 9s. As Rob Lee’s observation states, Kane is indeed a special centre-forward. He is of a rare breed of forwards who combine the qualities of strikers across the eras.
If the 31 goals and 5 assists symbolize his potency then 31 clearances and 46 tackles symbolize his tenacity and his will to work off the ball, which is an add-on that every manager wants from his forward. But one of his biggest strengths is his movement off the ball and the power in his shots. Kane had 74% shooting accuracy, which suggests how clinical he is. With the ball at his feet he always means business, no faffing around. Les Ferdinand, Kane’s coach at Spurs during his U-21 days, also states that Kane was not only clever with his movement but also had a venomous shot in his armory.
“We worked a lot on his shooting,” says Ferdinand, “I always said to Tim [Sherwood, then Ferdinand’s colleague working with the Tottenham u-21s], his movement reminds me of [Teddy] Sheringham, in that he drops into holes and automatically takes up clever positions. But he strikes the ball like Alan Shearer. Look at Alan’s goals, a lot of them are hit with pure venom. He very rarely tapped in. Harry’s like that. When he hits them, they’re going in.”
One of his biggest strengths is his versatility. The 21 year-old is an excellent number 9 but can also play as a number 10 or as a supporting striker or just in the hole between midfield and the number 9. He gave a glimpse of his versatility against Chelsea in League Cup final when he was constantly cutting in or delivering balls to Roberto Soldado from the wing. He is competent enough play out-wide as well. Mr. Les Ferdinand testifies this further as he calls Kane a ‘nine-and-a-half’ due to his versatility.
“I’d call Harry a nine and half,” he says. “He can hold up the ball, back to goal as well as any. He’s very dynamic in his movement, wants to be heading towards goal every time he gets the ball. But if he needs to drop back and thicken up the midfield, play as a No. 10, he has football intelligence to pick up the right positions.”
These qualities bear stark resemblance to England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney. Rooney has always been one of the most complete forwards in England’s history and Harry Kane seems a perfect heir to the 29 year old’s legacy at the national level at least, if his highly speculated move to Manchester United fails to materialize, just like Alan Shearer’s.
Harry Kane has only one minor weakness and that is his lack of speed. Kane is not one of the quickest centre-forwards around but he isn’t a slouch either. He is just a moderately paced nine-and-a-half. If he continues his development then he can surely maneuver around his only weakness. Or else opposing Premier League managers will find a way to negate his influence in no time.
Harry Kane is one of the wonder-kids of English football in large part due to his breakthrough season at Spurs this year, but he has to stay wary about the influence he has around himself or he may well go down the David Bentley way.
This was only his first full season with the first team and he showed flashes of his capabilities. If he keeps his head in the game, which can often be difficult, then he can very well match the levels of Shearer and Rooney if not better them.
It is essential that he makes his next move, be it to Manchester United or Real Madrid or anyone else, very carefully. He needs regular minutes to continue his development and he has time on his side to realize his glorious dream of playing for the European aristocracy. Mauricio Pochettino’s guidance will help Kane immensely in his development both on and off the pitch as the Argentine has a reputation of nurturing young talent.
Written by Vatsal Dani