Is Harry Kane under-rated?
Instinctively we baulk at the suggestion. Of course, he isn’t. Liked or otherwise by rival supporters, the 28-year-old certainly has our respect and is widely regarded to be one of the finest centre-forwards of the Premier League era. A good many of us would lay claim that he is world-class and this is especially the case when he is scoring lots of goals for England in a major tournament, taking them to the precipice of glory. Oh, how we all love him then.
Only then, a phenomenally prolific striker who will inevitably become England’s all-time record goal-scorer in the very near future – at the time of writing, Kane is just four off Wayne Rooney and counting – returns to Spurs and a new season begins, and we all sort of ignore how phenomenally prolific he is. Except when he converts against our team naturally.
Is ‘ignore’ too strong a word there? Probably. But what is absolutely true is that each new season we get awfully excited about a shiny new talent, perhaps a young superstar-in-the-making who arrives from overseas, blessed with blistering pace and trickery to spare, and so excited do we become that exaggerated predictions are made. So immense is this lad’s potential, we confidently state, that one day he will outscore the rest of the top-flight while also winning the Playmaker of the Season award for bagging the most assists. Wouldn’t that be something? Wouldn’t that be an ultimate testament to this youngster’s searing potential?
Kane achieved this remarkable feat the season before last.
Or a heavyweight striker will join the Premier League. You know the rare ilk, an Erling Haaland, let’s say, or should we go way back, when Andrei Shevchenko went to Chelsea. This guy will tear English football apart, we all rave. He’s generational. A freak of nature. They may as well hand him the Golden Boot right now.
Harry Kane has averaged 22.5 goals per season since 2014. He has won the Golden Boot on three occasions. Across nine campaigns, against some of the most immaculately put together defensive units on the planet, he has scored every 128 minutes.
If therefore Kane isn’t underrated – and the tepid response of Manchester City fans when he was heavily linked to their club last summer, and the tepid response of United supporters this summer at similar rumours, suggests that he actually might be – then unquestionably one of the greatest forwards this country has ever produced is shamefully taken for granted.
This irks, and particularly so when it’s acknowledged the elevated plateaus that his English predecessors were placed on, the very elite few who matched his supreme levels over the long-term. Take Wayne Rooney for example, the striker whose England record is under imminent threat from Kane. It is barely an overstatement to assert that an entire industry of acclaim grew around the former United legend from the media and public alike. He became, in time, a one-man institution, a player famed for his fame as much as his unique ability.
Is Kane similarly venerated? The recognition is not even in the same ball-park.
Why this is intrigues. Writer Dave Tickner, when penning an article covering the same subject matter as this one for Football365 claimed earlier this year that the Spurs striker does not promote himself in a slick enough fashion and yes, there is something to that. But did Rooney have a marketable brand? Both players are/were renowned for saying little of interest when speaking. Both, you wouldn’t look twice at in a pub were they not household names.
✅ Premier League Golden Boot
✅ Premier League Playmaker Award
— England (@England) May 23, 2021
Perhaps it is that Kane has remained at Spurs, a big club for sure, but not in the same stratosphere as United for gaining headlines and grabbing our attention. The lack of silverware won in North London is also a consideration.
Or perhaps it stems from how Kane emerged, not fully formed like Rooney, stealing the limelight from a tender age, but instead via loan spells at Orient and Norwich. By creeping into our consciousness Kane was ludicrously dismissed as a ‘one season wonder’ even three seasons into being sensational. Rooney meanwhile was hyped as the ‘White Pele’ as a teen.
Or maybe it’s something more conceptual and difficult to pin down. Maybe Kane is like Cadburys chocolate or Coldplay. Both are extremely good but who gets really excited about Cadburys chocolate or Coldplay? Instead, we rant about the cost of Freddos and talk in hushed tones about an up-and-coming act seen in a local dive.
Or in footballing terms, we are perpetually energized by the next-big-thing, never fully appreciating that a genuine giant, a legitimate great, is right there doing his magic on a weekly basis, before our very eyes.