‘It’s fine doing it once, but you’ve got to do it for years in the Prem’
‘You can only judge him after at least another season, can he do it again?’
‘He’s got to prove to everyone that he’s not a one season wonder’
Just a few of the criticisms and doubts cast over a certain Harry Kane after his heroics for Tottenham Hotspur last year and here’s his response;
‘Maybe I shut up a few people who have been talking over the last few weeks. A few people said 'one-season wonder'. People can judge me at the end of the season and we will go from there.’
It was easy for Spurs fans to sit back and rebuff the criticism that came Harry’s way, after an unbelievable debut season in the first team saw him bag 31 goals last term. But we knew.
Spurs fans, and anyone who watched him throughout the course of last season in any detail, will have seen more than just his name on the score sheet to suggest he had what it takes to go again this year and prove his critics wrong.
For me there’s five big reasons Harry wasn’t going to be the flash in the pan most of the footballing world, not to mention those mugs down the road, hoped he would;
1. Positioning and movement
It’s a bit of a football cliché but, throughout his ‘drought’ Harry just lacked a little bit of luck. He needed that odd one to come off his ass and into the net, even more cliché, but true. This was evident through his positioning and movement as he continued to create chances for himself but most importantly, the team.
He was no passenger. He was creating space and dragging defenders away, as they knew he would be dangerous, a dormant volcano with the ability to erupt at any point. The effort was still there too, no one wanted the OSW label stuck on Harry’s forehead less than Harry, and he put the effort in to ensure it wouldn’t.
2. Natural Instinct
You don’t score 31 goals in a season if you don’t know where the goal is, and it’s this natural ability and striking instinct he has that never went away despite the lack of goals.
These are the skills you don’t lose even when the going gets tough. His knack for knowing where the goal was stayed with him, the problem was it just wouldn’t go in for him. The same instinct which let him find the bottom corner from 25 yards against Chelsea was a just yard or two away.
However, you could see in his play that he was taking defenders away, curving his runs on the last shoulder and getting himself in the right positions. When you have these natural abilities and they’re evident even when you’re not scoring, your patience will eventually turn into goals.
We’ve seen time and time again how a negative mentality can take over, especially for strikers. Premier League high profile flops include Falcao, Torres, Shevchenko, Carroll and our own Robbie Soldado to name but a few. We’re no strangers to a striker on a bad run, that gets worse and worse until they miss even the chances your Nan would bag. But the reason for the steady decline is their confidence and mentality.
Harry never stopped working for the team and himself, keeping positive knowing that work eventually = goals. The pressure is inevitably building behind the scenes and in the press, when you’re out on that pitch it can’t feature in your psyche. It’ll crush you. And leave you missing not only your own chances but screwing up others as you try too hard to get your name on the scoreboard.
You’ve got to be impressed that he stuck to his task, and credit to Pochettino, whom kept a young man grounded, focussed and believing in himself.
4. No Heavy Burden
As mentioned above, the pressure builds as the goals dry up and especially in a team that’s not doing well, people come looking for you. But at the time Harry’s goals weren’t as fluent as the previous year, the team were playing well, scoring goals thus no one came looking for Kane’s goals.
This undoubtedly helped him keep his mind focussed and positive as the rest of the team and fans were buzzing still. When the doom and gloom sets in, we’d be the first to accept that White Hart Lane can be a tough place to play football. But the boys rallied around, played well, won games and more importantly didn’t lose games.
This meant the press didn’t have their sights set on Kane straight away and couldn’t blame his lack of goals for our struggle, because we didn’t have one!
5. The belief shown in him
The thing strikers on a bad run need, is the one thing their manager can’t afford to give them – time. A striker without goals is about as useful as a teapot made out of chocolate – but as discussed already he was offering enough and showing enough to keep him out there.
And Pochettino wasn’t the only one to see enough from Kane to give him not only a squad place but one in the starting XI. Roy Hodgson chose Harry for his England squads and played him for the maximum time he’d agreed with Spurs. And low and behold he was rewarded with two excellently taken goals – both showing the natural ability, instinct and positivity we’ve already recognised.
Those decisions have already gone on to benefit both Spurs and England as Harry bounced back, going to show if you show your belief in a player, they believe in themselves.
In terms of what Spurs fans have experienced of goal droughts, this one was short, but worrying. When a player performs as well as Kane did last season as much as you can see the quality in his game, you can’t help the niggle of worry at the back of your head – which in Spurs fans is ever-present.
There’s more to come from Harry Kane. He’s found a groove. A young, quality team building around him and as that team builds their position in the Premier League rises and so does his goal tally.
Let’s rate Kane in five seasons, let’s count his goals then and let’s see if season 14/15 was the one-season-wonder. See if they believe us then. We always believed in him, even when no else did, because Harry Kane, “He’s one of our own!”
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