This is the fourteenth installment in a series of Tottenham Hotspur player profiles that I am creating. The articles are aimed at fans who are either new to Spurs or new to the game. You can find my other work in the fanposts section of the Cartilage Free Captain blog. Read, comment, compliment, ridicule, enjoy.
Author's Note: The "Bird Standing on Ball" series will be going on a hiatus after this piece. The author needs to see both young and new signings in a Spurs shirt a bit more to provide confident analysis. Hope you have have enjoyed thus far!
Player: Harry Kane
Strengths: Harry Kane has the most un-sanctimonious of celebrations in the EA Sports' promo for their upcoming FIFA 16 release. Sprinting towards the corner flag, Kane attempts a glorious knee slide celebration, only to tumble over on his right side into an unflattering roll. The fact that EA used Kane for the comic relief portion of the video has more to do with the club he plays for, rather than a laugh about the player himself. Yet there is something curious about casting Kane as the jester. Kun Aguero or Diego Costa would never be shone in such an uncomplimentary light, so why Harry Kane?
Maybe it is that he can look a bit goofy at times, or maybe it really is just the club that he plays for, but part of the reason may be that Kane is not a sleek footballer. He had a truly prolific 2014-15 season for Spurs, but he didn't score thirty plus goals in a shiny manner. Sure he had his wonderful goals, the instantly-viral sort, but what made Kane great was that he scored goals in an everyman fashion. For as many knuckling, dipping strikes that he scored from distance, Kane had an equal share of deflected goals or odd ones that wondrously land at his feet through a crowd of defenders.
Possessing a laudable work-rate, Kane expends energy in a praiseworthy fashion, but he doesn't run without intent. His movements are intelligent and constant; he knows when, where, and how to make a run and is a handful for defenders to track. That said, he also knows when to meander and drift; sometimes the best runs are those which never occur. Kane can sniff chances and is Gary Kasparov-ian in predicting play; for this reason he often ends up in maximum opportunity situations.
He isn't just a poacher though. Coming through the ranks, many thought that Tottenham's talisman would be well-suited to play in a second striker role or even as a No. 10. He is neither the fastest nor quickest player on the field, but he manages to beat players on the dribble consistently. This occurs because of the strength he has and the exquisite first touch that he possesses. The ball never strays too far from his feet; a useful quality exhibited when he is both attacking and holding up play.
At a height of 6'2" Harry Kane is a big striker, but still fluid. Kane can be a target forward, just as much as he can excel in a quick combination far from goal. In both crossing and set piece situations the mélange of physical height and cold proficiency in front of net make him hazardous. He can beat you in the air, with a low driving shot, a composed finesse finish, a powerful effort from afar, or a bullying touch close to net while shielding off a defender. Harry Kane wants to score more than his opponents want to defend. He wills his way to the score sheet, just as he willed his way into Tottenham's first eleven and the English National Team.
Weaknesses: Harry Kane is a legend and GTFO if you think otherwise.
History at Spurs: Spurs since eleven years. Scored thirty-one goals in fifty-one appearances in the 2014-15 season. He's one of our own.
Role on Team: Harry Kane is the face of Tottenham Hotspur F.C. His astronomical rise is that of fairy tales and Hollywood. He is so beloved at Spurs, that the club decided to not even buy a back-up for him this past summer. Pochettino prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation which plays with a lone striker. There is nothing in Poch's modus operandi that points to him changing his style or the way he aligns his players. It is for this reason that Kane is the primary option up front. Kane is capable of dropping deeper and playing in a second striker role too, but Tottenham does not have the roster to accommodate a change like that. If he is healthy, he will start every single important fixture for Spurs this season. Kane was also named vice-captain of the 2015-16 Tottenham side.
Prediction: It will be difficult beyond measure to match the heights of Kane's legendary 2014-15 season. The thing to do consider though is that he doesn't have to as spectacular to still be great for Spurs. The key for Kane is to simply produce at an elite level for a second consecutive season. Kane's incredible trajectory started with bags of goals from October onwards but the goals dried up some in the very latter stages of his inaugural campaign. The sophomore slump isn't just a quirky coincidence that sportswriters speak of but a theory of legitimate merit. If teams hadn't already shifted their game-plans to thwart the young center forward, then his prodigious New Years Day performance against Chelsea certainly did.
Premier League opponents in the 2015-16 season will concentrate solely on bottling up the force of nature that is Harry Kane. The real question is if Kane can still churn out goals with extra strategic attention. The answer, for me, is a resounding yes. Kane does not need to score thirty goals to be a success, but he might come close to that if he stays healthy. The kid has everything a striker needs to be successful including the intangibles; an even-keeled demeanor and a blue collar work rate. Expect a profitable season for the mouth breathing star of Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane.