Under our Talent Radar banner, we constantly strive to document and highlight the progress of the younger stars of the beautiful game, before they progress into household names. Our latest initiative within the burgeoning Talent Radar section is the introduction of #The10 feature.
This annual feature champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look to reward 10 of the best young individuals across 10 primary pillars. The third category looks at the stand-out young star from Europe.
For all queries regarding this feature, eligibility and selection process, read this piece.
UPDATE: YOUNG STARS OF 2016
Born on the 28th of July, 1993, Harry Kane is well on his way to footballing stardom. The youngster began his football journey with his local club, Ridgeway Rovers before seemingly getting his big break at Arsenal. However, the move didn’t work out (just imagine if it did), and after a brief return to Rovers, Kane continued his development at Watford. The last step in his circuitous career was to be the club where he has made his name since and one whose fan base has come to idolize the youngster.
Kane rose through the ranks at Spurs making a name for himself, enough to be regularly capped by England’s age group sides from the U17s to the U21s. The striker then traversed on the well trodden path of loans to the Football League. Truth be told, Kane certainly performed decently when on loan but not many would have charted a rise so meteoric.
The 22-year-old announced himself to the footballing world in the 2014/15 season in style. Spurs’ lack of quality striking options coupled with Pochettino’s arrival as Manager saw Kane given a chance to stake a claim for a place in the starting XI and he did just that, in some style as well.
SUCCESS IN 2015
2015 started in the best possible way for the striker as Spurs trounced to a 5-3 victory over eventual Champions, Chelsea. This emphatic victory saw Kane play a pivotal role as he found the back of the net twice and assisted 2 more goals to cap off a memorable night. Having established himself in Pochettino’s starting XI, Kane went from strength to strength in the first half of 2015, adding another 14 goals to his tally before the season came to a close.
The 22-year-old had a very slow start to the 2015/16 season as he failed to find the back of the net in his first 6 league games. The doubters were shouting one season wonder from the rooftops while the believers maintained that he was only 1 goal away from resuming normal service. It’s the latter group which has been vindicated as Kane has found his way to goal once again. Eager to make up for lost time, the England International pumped in 8 goals in a run of 4 games in the League.
With such an extended run of form, it came as little surprise when Roy Hodgson called Kane up to the senior squad for the Lithuania. It came as even less surprise when the striker found the back of the net on his International debut. Kane further added to his tally with goals against San Marino and Switzerland in the Euro 2016 qualifiers as England comfortably qualified for the now extended tournament.
THE ANALYTIC VIEW
The first thing to be addressed for any striker is of course his output in terms of numbers in front of goal. Kane’s scoring record is very impressive for someone his age and has the ingredients that make up most poachers. However, Kane’s success and indeed, inclusion in this list is based on a lot more than the ability to find the back of the net.
Even during his goal drought mentioned above, the youngster’s place and contribution was never in doubt. The striker has the technical ability to play either as the out-and-out striker or in a more withdrawn position as he has shown already in his short career. The England International’s flexibility stems from his proficiency on the ball and intelligence off it. These qualities are of further use to the forward when deployed in a lone frontman’s role as he often drifts out wide to draw the opposition centre-back out. Having said that, the penalty box is far from foreign to him.
Kane’s strengths are many and yet one would find it difficult to name one outstanding quality of his that sets him head and shoulders above his peers. The lack of searing pace, the absence of a magical bit of play that would go viral on social media sometimes stick out. Yet, it’s the combination of all of Kane’s abilities that make him such a talent.
Before looking to the future, one has to acknowledge just how good the present is if you’re Harry Kane. Adored by a fanbase and considered to be one of England’s brightest talents, Kane will be feeling 10 feet tall every time he walks out onto a football pitch, as he should. Under a manager with a proven record of nurturing young talents including Kane himself, there is absolutely no need for change and yet, in football as in life change seems to be inevitable.
It has to be noted that if we had our way, most young footballers would stay put at the same club all the time and say no to potentially career defining moves. We like to err on the side of caution but in truth nobody can ascertain the success of a move before it happens.
This entire discussion could be rendered moot if Kane decides to continue his development at Spurs, something that will leave half of North London very happy. If indeed, any move materializes though, one would back Kane to still make his mark.
While Harry Kane certainly justifies his selection for this piece, arriving at his nomination wasn’t an easy task. Two other European nationals stood out as both Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay were widely considered. All these three individuals were recognised in our 2014-15 Talent Radar awards; and while all had a fair shot, Kane was the most deserving pick, showing immense consistency as compared to his counter-parts. Depay was successful in Netherlands but has struggled to carry it over to the Premier League, and Fekir’s long-term injury forced an exclusion from the feature.
This is how The 10 Young Stars of 2015 feature currently looks, as we reveal each individual, piece by piece. Next up is the GSN Index pick.
Read about all the players feature in #The10, right here.
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