Despite failing to qualify for last year's UEFA U-19 European Championship, England has advanced into the semifinals after a group-winning 2-1 victory over France. The game-winner was scored by none other than Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane, as the striker has used the tournament to continue the momentum he gained on a strong loan to Millwall.
Kane's 39th minute volley gave England their eventual 2-1 lead over France, as the striker stepped up in a most crucial time. A starter in every game this tournament, Kane earned an assist in England's 2-1 victory over Serbia in the group's second game. But versus France Kane was dropped into midfield, where Kane had to play in an unfamiliar role. However, Kane has seemed to show a real growth to his all-around game since I scouted him in March.
England has already earned a berth in the 2013 U-20 World Cup by virtue of their top-3 group finish. Kane's play seems to have him squarely in focus as a key member of this young English generation. However, the England U-19s focus seems to be in the task at hand, a semifinal match final match against Greece for the right to face France or Spain in the final.
Kane's performance has to have new Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas intrigued. Comments by Tottenham coach Tim Sherwood indicate a new found emphasis on development at the club, not with loans, seemingly leaving Kane with every chance to break through with the first team this season:
"We don't think there's any value in loaning Harry out to the Championship again," says Sherwood. "He's ticked that box. He may need a few more games if he's not in the frame at Tottenham, but he's going to be given every opportunity to prove himself to the new manager. If the manager decides he's not ready, that would be the only time we would consider loaning him out. But as we stand, we're not looking to loan him."
If you can find a broadcast (or live in Estonia) check out Kane and the England and the U-19s in Thursday's semifinal. And with Kane's return to Tottenham Hotspur's preseason training looming, the young striker may be on the verge of a first team break through.