English Gods: Harry Kane

 

England and Tottenham Hotspur strker Harry Kane is a breath of fresh air for football supporters. In an industry clouded by obscenely rich egocentrics, Kane has retained his modest and benevolent character regardless of his exclusive status in European football.

Chingford is renowned for being a hotbed for young talent. There are a number of strong clubs in the area and it’s no coincidence that David Beckham and Andros Townsend have also hailed from Chingford.
Kane enjoyed a pleasant upbringing and took his first steps into competitive football when he joined Ridgeway Rovers in 1999. Dave Bricknall, who coached him at Ridgeway, told BBC Sport that Kane played as a goalkeeper during his trial at the club.
It was only until a local woman recommended playing him outfield that Kane discovered his passion for scoring goals. Kane has cited former Tottenham Hotspur striker Teddy Sheringham as being his childhood idol, but also alluded to David Beckham and Brazilian forward Ronaldo as being major influences in the development of his playing style.
Another remarkable feature in his pathway to success was his comprehensively reported spell at North London rivals Arsenal. Bricknall blamed his demise at Arsenal on being “played in a variety of positions,” as it made it practically impossible for him to forge a consistent run of form.
Former Arsenal coach Alex Welsh gave a perceptive analysis on the resilient character of Kane by stating, “Adversity that we encounter as young people shapes us for life. So I think leaving Arsenal made Harry more driven and more determined to make it.”
His quote completely defines the strong mentality of the English captain. He’s determined to achieve greatness in the face of adversity and this enabled him to forge the career he’s created via resilience, hard work and determination.
Upon returning from Arsenal, Kane returned to Ridgeway Rovers to rediscover his confidence and resuscitate his dreams. Still young and ambitious, Kane attempted to bounce back by going on a trial with his boyhood club Tottenham Hotspur. His initial trial proved unsuccessful, but after spending six weeks at Watford, Spurs decided to offer him another opportunity.

Discovering His Goalscoring Capacity

This should be the stage in the report where I say that the rest was history, but the evolution of Harry Kane was far more complex than most cases. Originally, Kane was deployed in a holding midfield role and his performances were average at best. His talent had yet to be unveiled to his coaches, but his obedience and willingness to learn were evident from the early stages of his spell in the youth team.
Eventually, Kane began to show signs of promise and he frequently scored from his restrictive role. It wasn’t long until he was pushed further forward into the central attacking midfield position and this marked the stage when his goal scoring qualities came to the forefront of his game.
In the 2009/10 season, Kane had discovered his favoured position and he seized the moment by scoring 18 goals for the under-18s. Regardless of his goalscoring heroics in the youth team, Harry Redknapp decided not to give him with his first team debut.
Kane signed his first professional contract at the beginning of the 2010/11 season, but was once again unable to force his way into the first team. This marked the beginning of a perpetual run of loan spells in the Football League.

Learning the Ropes in the Football League

He was shaping into an exciting prospect and England introduced him to the international scene by including him in the youth squads. Kane exhibited his talismanic form and earned a number of loan spells across the Football League.
Yet to make his debut at White Hart Lane, Kane spent five months at League One club Leyton Orient. Kane flourished when given more first team opportunities and scored five goals in 18 appearances, but his most prominent loan spell was at Millwall during the 2011/12 season.
Tottenham Hotspur gave him his long-awaited debut in a UEFA Europa League qualifier against Scottish club Hearts in August 2011. Kane subsequently won a penalty when he was fouled inside the penalty area, but was thwarted from the penalty spot.
Harry Redknapp was still reluctant to introduce Kane to Premier League action, but gave him opportunities in the UEFA Europa League. Kane eventually scored his first senior goal in a 4-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers in December 2011 and joined Millwall just one month later for the remainder of the season.
It was undisputedly his most successful loan spell and he was credited for his performances with Millwall’s Young Player of the Year award. Kane scored seven goals in fourteen appearances in the Championship to steer them clear of the threat of relegation.
Norwich City hoped that Kane would be able to have the same impact at Carrow Road, but were disappointed by the then England Under-21 international. The Canaries were hoping that Kane would provide a goal scoring threat to enable them to compete in the Premier League, but injuries prevented him from making an impression.
Therefore, Kane reverted to the Championship by joining Leicester City but he was unable to recover his deteriorating form. Some predicted that Kane would subsequently fail to live up to expectations at Tottenham Hotspur, but he would go onto emphatically prove them wrong in spectacular fashion!

The Breakthrough

Andre Villas-Boas decided not to send Harry Kane out on loan again during the 2013/14 season. But Kane was reduced to first team opportunities in the UEFA Europa League once again until Tim Sherwood replaced Villas-Boas on an interim basis in December 2013.
Kane featured more frequently in the latter stages of the season and scored in three consecutive league matches against Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham.
Four goals in 19 appearances was far below the standards required for a forward playing for a club as prestigious at Tottenham Hotspur, but he was yet to unveil his true excellence to the White Hart Lane faithful.
It was under former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino that Kane began to flourish in the first team. Kane scored five goals in pre-season ahead of the 2014/15 season, but failed to find the net in the opening nine league matches of the season due to a lack of playing time.
However, after a fluctuating run of form, Kane sealed a narrow victory against Aston Villa at Villa Park in November 2014. He’d extended his season tally in the Premier League to five goals by the turn of the year and went onto finish his breakthrough campaign with 21 goals in 34 league appearances and 21 goals in all competitions.
He enjoyed a number of exceptional performances, including his brace in the North London derby victory over Arsenal at White Hart Lane and his first hat-trick in a 4-3 win against Leicester City.
Roy Hodgson gave him his first international call-up in March 2015 and Kane marked his international bow with his first goal just 80 seconds after coming on from the bench during a 4-0 Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania.
Journalists worried that Kane may be a one-season wonder when he failed to score in the opening month of the 2015/16 season. Kane ended his six-match goal drought in the Premier League by scoring in a 4-1 win over Manchester City at the tail-end of September and went onto score 10 goals in the following 11 league fixtures.
Tottenham Hotspur went neck to neck with Leicester City in the Premier League title race until Chelsea fought back from a two goal deficit to earn a point at Stamford Bridge. This mathematically handed the Premier League title to The Foxes and two consecutive defeats, including a humiliating 5-1 loss to Newcastle United forced them to plummet into third place.
Regardless of their slip-up at the end of the season, Pochettino had successfully guided Spurs to Champions League qualification for the first time since 2010. Kane also won his first Premier League Golden Boot with a staggering 25 goals and was preparing for his first major international tournament with the England National Team.
He delivered a string of lacklustre performances in France and England slumped out of the tournament following a disastrous defeat against tournament minnows Iceland in the Round of 16.

Becoming One of the Very Best in the World

Harry Kane was quickly becoming one of the most prized players both for Tottenham Hotspur and the England National Team. But he was facing criticism for his performances during Euro 2016, along with a number of other internationals, and that criticism intensified when he once again failed to score in the three matches played in August.
Maintaining form is the most difficult aspect of the game for any professional footballer but Kane quickly returned to his talismanic self to produce another free-scoring season.
He was included in the PFA Team of the Year for the third consecutive season and pipped Romelu Lukaku to the Premier League Golden Boot with 29 goals. Harry Kane should deservedly be ranked alongside the greatest strikers ever to play in the Premier League.
His goal scoring record speaks for itself and the fact that he’s still only 25 years of age means he has plenty of time to achieve unprecedented success. He entered the history books for England at the 2018 World Cup by scoring six goals to become only the second ever Englishman to win the World Cup Golden Boot, after Three Lions’ legend Gary Lineker.
Kane has scored 159 goals in 242 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur, including 122 goals in the Premier League. I can’t think of many out-and-out strikers (excluding Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi) across the world that are more notorious for finding the net, other than FC Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
Mark my words, in five to ten years; we’ll be speaking about Harry Kane in the same way that we do Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer!

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