Today we begin a new post-season series at Cartilage Free Captain where we review the Tottenham Hotspur first team players and give our opinions on how they played this season. Over the coming days we'll examine every Tottenham first team player and evaluate their season. We start today with the most obvious, our site Player of the Year, Harry Kane.
Goals: 31 (21 league)
Minutes played: 3,683
What went right
31 total goals. 21 league goals. What went right? Almost everything. Harry Kane had one of the most meteoric ascensions into the upper echelons of football that I can remember. In the span of less than a season Kane went from a promising young academy player coming off of a string of decent to mediocre loans, to one of the top strikers in the Premier League and a nailed-on starter for England. That just doesn't happen. But it did for Kane.
Some of us predicted that Kane would be a good striker, as we've been watching him toil in the academy for years. But nobody, nobody expected him to be THIS good, for it to happen so quickly, or for him to score 31 goals in only seven months. And even better, everything we've seen indicates that, barring a catastrophic injury, this season probably isn't a fluke. Harry Kane may not score this many goals again next season, but there's absolutely no evidence that he's going to turn into the next Darren Bent.
Harry Kane was easily the best outfield player on Tottenham's roster, and though some would argue that Hugo Lloris has a shout for Player of the Year, in my mind there's no question. Tottenham supporters have been pining for a 30-goal striker since Gary Lineker. Now we've got one, and he's one of our own.
What went wrong
Not much. As mentioned, this was a fairy tale season for Harry Kane, but there are a few things he can work on. Like many good players that suddenly explode onto the Premier League scene, eventually opponents started to figure Kane out a little bit. Many of his goals came earlier in the season when defenders still didn't know what to make of this kid yet. Kane has a great nose for goal, but he's not a striker that has a basket full of skill moves. He's got that one half-turn-and-hesitate-for-space-then-shoot-low-across-the-goal move, which he's used effectively, and he's got the ability to get his head onto lofted balls. In order to improve, he's going to need to find a few more tricks, or find himself double-marked out of matches.
Kane also needs to work on closing his mouth occasionally. And maybe invest some of his new-found millions into a speech therapist.
Kane needs to prove that this season wasn't a fluke. There have been lots of strikers who have put in one outstanding season only to fade away in subsequent years. If Kane wants to stay at the peak of English football stardom for the foreseeable future, then he'll need to turn this offseason into a productive one. He can start with an outstanding performance at this summer's U21 European Championship and use that as a proving ground on how to still excel when you're double and triple-teamed, as he undoubtedly will be for much of the tournament.
He'll also want to continue to work at being a more well-rounded player. Kane does like to drop deep when needed to pick up the ball, but Spurs' offense is going to primarily work through him. If he can continue to develop that killer pass to the open teammate in the box when he's covered instead of trying to force a shot, he may suddenly find that he's not marked as closely the next time.
Finally, Kane also needs to continue his down-to-earth relations with the English footballing media. If he starts to believe too much in his own stardom, he may start to feel the pressure if and when he doesn't consistently perform. Kane might not score 30 goals again next season, but if he doesn't he will hopefully be able to shake off any media slings and arrows that are lobbed his way. If there's nothing people like more than anointing a new star, it's tearing him down when he doesn't meet their expectations. Kane's shown that he's got a good head on his shoulders, but he'll need to be sure it doesn't get turned.
Grade: 5 Chirpys