It certainly has been a very Happy Christmas for Harry Kane, scoring goal number 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 and 56 of the calendar year, and in turn, becoming the highest scoring player in Europe’s top five divisions. Not only that, but he smashed Alan Shearer’s 22-year-old record of 36 Premier League goals in a year, scoring 39 goals in 2017. Here’s to you Harry, a self made superstar!
— Harry Kane (@HKane) December 26, 2017
It is easy to forget however that just a few years ago, having strikers like Kane and Roberto Soldado in their squad was widely accepted as a hinderance to Spurs breaking into the top four on a regular basis. Having come through Spurs’ youth academy Kane spent loan spells in the lower leagues with Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester with, what must be said, mixed success.
His early days at Spurs, like most young players these days, consisted mainly of outings in the Cup Competitions. When we first saw Kane in a Spurs shirt it was difficult to be overly impressed, he lacked any real pace to get away from defenders and along with his ungainly physique, the youngster looked slightly awkward on the ball. In all honesty it was hard to see him ever becoming a regular at Premier League level and many would have expected him to play most of his football in the divisions below.
Watching him blossom into the lethal, prolific striker we see today has come as shock to most of us. Even most of his youth coaches at Spurs will admit they didn’t see Kane becoming the powerhouse we see week in week out these days. In fact even after Kane’s breakout season of 2014/2015 many in the game put down his fine goalscoring run as nothing more than a fluke and many predicted that in time he would be seen as nothing more than a one season wonder.
How wrong they have been, based on his form over the last three seasons, it is easy to see that Harry Kane is on his way to becoming a great player. Great players, in my opinion, come from two distinct groups. First, there are the natural talents – players that are born with a god given gift that only requires minor tweaks from coaches, as their natural talent is such that it is almost impossible not to shine through. The other group are players that make themselves great – players who have average ability but who, through their exceptional work ethic, make themselves great. I would argue that Kane belongs to this second bracket of players.
All of his youth coaches talk of a youngster who was far from the most naturally talented in his age group but a kid who was completely dedicated to learning his craft and oftentimes had to be dragged off the training pitch, so strong was his desire to improve. They also speak of a youngster humble enough to realise he had flaws in his game and was prepared to work day and night to improve on them.
Kane’s shooting ability is razor sharp. Anytime he gets the ball around the opposition’s box it’s not long until he unleashes as thunderbolt in the direction of the bottom left or right corner. Kane even recently said in a interview, that if he scores into the top bin, chances are he’s miss-hit it, such is his love for hitting the ball low and hard.
This ability is far from a fluke, it has come from thousands of hours of shooting practice at Spurs’ Enfield training ground. Kane’s love for the bottom corners and deadly accuracy with which he hits them, is reminiscent of Frank Lampard, who always seemed to find the bottom corners when arriving late into the box for Chelsea.
Lampard is described, by those who have known him from a early age, as having “made” himself a great player, so the similarity between his and Kane’s ball striking technique seems to show that both developed this ability via constant practice and not a god given talent.
There is no doubt that working with Mauricio Pochetinno has improved his conditioning and physique, which has resulted in the striker now seeming to have that extra burst of pace that many thought was missing earlier in his career.
As a local boy he is lucky to be playing in a side with so many other talented players as well as having one of the best young managers in the world. Spurs have shown over the last three seasons that they are a club on the up and unlike several other Spurs academy graduates, he will not have to move to another club in search of silverware.
At 24, Kane has 96 Premier League goals, so barring a major injury he has a real chance of getting close to, or even breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of 260 goals. If he fails to get near it, it definitely will not be through a poor attitude or lack of commitment. All in all the boy from Chingford has the world at his feet and it’s hard to begrudge him that, considering how hard he’s worked to get to where he is.
For any young football players looking for a role model they need look no further than Harry Kane, a man who has proved that you don’t need to be born a great player or be the most promising in your age group to become a superb player. With the right work ethic, any young player out there has the ability to make themselves great, in fact chances are they may even surpass those who were born with it.
So here’s to you Harry Kane, a self made superstar. We can’t wait for 2018.