Cartilage Free Captain is once again reviewing each of Spurs' first team players and evaluating their 2015-16 season. The series continues today with Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane.
Goals: 28 (25 league)
Golden Boots: 1
What went right?
When you talk about Harry Edward Kane, you are now talking about one of, if not the, best strikers in England, and one of the better strikers in Europe. He's proven that this season. Oh sure, scoring 31 goals last season was impressive and all, but could he do it again? Or would he fade back into the football background like Andy Carroll, Michu, or Andy Johnson?
Well, we have our answer. Harry Kane put all doubts about his ability to rest this season. While he didn't hit 31 goals, he did get 28 in all competitions, and 25 in the Premier League, and that was good enough to land the Golden Boot just ahead of Sergio Aguero and Jamie "fairy tale" Vardy. His interplay with Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, and Christian Eriksen was gorgeous, and although he only had two assists to his credit this season, it wasn't at all unusual to see Kane put in one of those gorgeous "hockey assist" balls in the build-up to Spurs' attack.
Perhaps most critically to his success within Tottenham's tactical system under Pochettino, Kane has also proven to be more than adept in the press. He regularly drops deep to get possession, and instead of living off the shoulder of the defense as many strikers are wont to do, Kane is active in harrying defenders and finding open teammates to start counterattacks. It's a lot of fun to watch him play.
Kane took an incredible debut season and more or less equalled it, helping his club make a title push and leading them to a third place finish. He's a nailed on starter for England in this summer's EUROs, and he's poised to be one of the best strikers of his generation.
Job well done, Harry.
What went wrong?
The answer to this kind of depends on how nit-picky you want to get. Kane is a fantastic all-around striker, and being a striker you would assume him to be somewhat greedy with the ball at times. And that's maybe the main knock on Kane from this past season: there were numerous occasions where he opted for a lower percentage shot while contested and from distance instead of lifting his head and looking for an open teammate.
There also times you felt like Kane disappeared from matches, or where his finishing seemed to desert him for stretches. That's maybe slightly unfair because no player dominates every match, and part of that is assuredly defenders doing their homework and trying to deny Kane service, especially in the channels where he tends to thrive.
Kane also had his share of mediocre outings this season, peppered with stretches of absolute genius. It took him about six matches early this season to start scoring, and that was worrisome at the time, especially since the club seemingly doubled-down by not signing a true backup. But again, not every striker is going to have Robert Lewandowski-levels of finishing, so it's a bit tetchy of me to bring it up. But hey, I've gotta put something here, ya know?
More of the same please, Harry. There's not a whole lot more you can ask of your striker than what Harry has done this season. Now he gets a chance to put his skills against the best defenders in Europe in the Champions League and this summer's EUROs. One hopes that Tottenham will finally sign someone who can spell him a match here or there, for the best way to ensure that Harry Kane doesn't have an amazing career is to drive him into the ground while he's still in his 20s.
Finding a teammate that can actually push him to be better would be nice, too. It's not that I think Harry will get complacent, but nothing motivates a truly great player more than knowing there's another guy at your heels trying to get your minutes.
In the end, we Spurs fans all just looking forward to seeing that gaping, mealy-mouthed maw play in a lily white shirt for as long as possible, you know? Or as the daughter of one of my friends would say, "Onward and awkward!"