Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane picks up the ball ten yards out from the penalty area, jinks past two defenders to give himself a clear sight of goal, and lets fly an unstoppable shot that curls into the top corner of the net. Remember those goals? He seemed to do it on a regular basis. It hasn’t happened for a while. Why?
Kane is the complete footballer. He can shoot with both feet and he is a strong header of the ball. He can pass the ball through the eye of a needle and is always aware of the position of his team-mates. He is strong and has a great ability to hold the ball up when required. When Spurs break forward, Kane is often the player to make a telling pass toward either wing. He is an intelligent footballer. He is not as fast as many strikers but he doesn’t need to be because his positioning and awareness compensates for any lack of speed…not that he is slow to begin with.
It seems to me that, prior to last season, Harry had permission to drop further back, follow the ball and play across the park. Recently, he doesn’t seem to play with so much freedom and remains in a fairly central position. I think this restricts his normal game and reduces the impact he has in the team. Harry has so much ability that is wasted if he is simply used as a spearhead in the attack. We have Son and Moura who could both fulfil such a role and both are quicker in the box. Harry is not a Jimmy Greaves, with lightning reflexes and an uncanny ability to dribble through the box. His skills are different but equally effective.
By focussing on Kane’s striking ability does Spurs miss out on his midfield ability? I think Harry would be a brilliant attacking midfielder. He would still find the same positions he currently finds to score goals but his passing skills would contribute so much more when Spurs attack. As part of a normal process, he may well find himself dropping back into a MF role as he gets older in any case. His football sense would ensure this.
So, the question is…is MP utilising Harry’s awesome ability in the best possible way to suit the Tottenham team?