Sunday Mirror

Kane’s been given the script to per­form Mour than one star­ring role

- Sports · Harry Kane · Tottenham Hotspur Football Club · England · England national football team

I’M fas­ci­nated by Harry Kane’s evo­lu­tion, and the rea­son is, I see a touch of my his­tory in his de­vel­op­ment.

Peo­ple have com­pared his abil­ity in the box to mine, and that’s quite flat­ter­ing.

There’s no doubt he’s the best goalscorer of his gen­er­a­tion, with an abil­ity to find space in the penalty area, an abil­ity to an­tic­i­pate where the ball is go­ing to be… and where the de­fend­ers are not go­ing to be.

That’s what I like to think I did. Peo­ple al­ways called it in­stinct, but I beg to dif­fer. I call it years of prac­tice, and years of learn­ing where the best re­turns come as a goalscorer.

You only have to look at Kane’s de­vel­op­ment to see that. He went out on loan all over the place and all over the di­vi­sions, wasn’t fan­cied by a suc­ces­sion of Spurs man­agers, and prob­a­bly only got his chance be­cause they couldn’t get any­one else.

Yet his in­cred­i­ble hard work, his re­fusal to re­lent or give in, got him to the very top. Now, though,

I’m see­ing a dif­fer­ent

Harry Kane.

He’s drop­ping deeper, not play­ing off the shoul­der any more, al­low­ing Son with his pace to per­form that role. Yet it hasn’t blunted his goalscor­ing, and he’s also show­ing far more of his pass­ing range, and his abil­ity to cre­ate.

The ques­tion is, has he done that be­cause in­jury has blunted his abil­ity to play that role where he looks to get in be­hind? It hap­pened to me. I spoke in this col­umn last week about the se­ri­ous cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in­jury I suf­fered, and how it maybe took away that tiny bit of ex­plo­sive­ness I had as a kid.

Like me, Kane has never been that quick, but (I like to think) like me, he has that abil­ity to get away from a de­fender over those cru­cial cou­ple of yards in the penalty area. That comes from speed of thought, not speed of legs.

With me, though, I couldn’t quite push off as quick af­ter the in­jury. And I won­der if Harry has the same prob­lem, af­ter what has been a se­ri­ous in­jury in the past three or four years? Maybe, maybe not.

What I am see­ing is a player who is clearly ca­pa­ble of fill­ing both roles, in that he has been mag­nif­i­cent in drop­ping deeper, and find­ing the sort of passes that some­one like Kevin de Bruyne would be proud of. And I’m see­ing a striker who is still sixth in the Premier League scor­ing charts.

I know Jo s e Mourinho has come in for so much stick since he ar­rived at Spurs, but for me,

it’s very good man­age­ment from him. He is let­ting his star player loose, and giv­ing him a far greater range in his role on the pitch.

Now de­fend­ers don’t know whether to go with him when he drifts deeper, or stick goal side of Son ( be­low),

for fear of his pace. It also al­lows Kane to come later, and that makes it harder to mark him – as teams were do­ing two and three deep when he was the only threat.

It’s an evo­lu­tion of his game, but also his men­tal­ity too. I do be­lieve in the past, he sim­ply didn’t have enough con­fi­dence and be­lief in any­one else around him to do the job. Kane was the shoul­der player and, if he didn’t do it, Spurs lost.

I reckon that is what Mourinho has brought, an abil­ity to man­age his star player bet­ter, to get him to see that he can per­form dif­fer­ent roles. And it helps when Son is on fire as he has been.

As my ca­reer showed, it is pos­si­ble to keep play­ing at the top even if you lose an edge through in­jury, and I don’t doubt Kane will do that. Play­ers do lose a touch of pace and sharp­ness as they get older, but in fair­ness I haven’t seen that yet from Harry. For Eng­land’s sake, long may it con­tinue.

 ??  ?? MAK­ING THEIR POINT Tot­ten­ham
Jose man­ager
Mourinho has got Harry Kane fir­ing on all cylin­ders
MAK­ING THEIR POINT Tot­ten­ham Jose man­ager Mourinho has got Harry Kane fir­ing on all cylin­ders

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