Date: 12th August 2020 at 2:02pm
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Harry is recognised by most supporters as the complete footballer. I don’t think anyone can logically dispute this. He is in the Tottenham Hotspur team to score goals and he has proved capable of scoring with his left foot, right foot, and his head, on a remarkably consistent basis. That is indisputable, too.

But part of being a ‘complete footballer’ means he has many other attributes, too. He can defend, he can spot key passes, he can hold up the ball, he remains cool in possession, rarely panics, and he can read the game extremely well. Like all top players, he has a football brain and his thinking is often ahead of his colleagues. He has the ability to know what is happening around him before he gets the ball, much like Modric had (I’m not comparing them beyond this).

Playing a more defensive style of football, as we currently are, means that Harry is often isolated in a forward position and sometimes far less involved in the match. This often sees him dropping back to find the ball and get more involved. By dropping back he takes up the space that midfielders use and leaves a gap going forward when Spurs make a break. Not always, but it happens.

There is continual discussion among Spurs supporters about the need for a back-up striker, mainly in the event that Harry gets injured. But what would happen if Spurs did not opt for a back-up, bench warming striker, but went for a recognised target striker instead (for a name we would need to refer to Jod).

What would the team look like with a new number nine, and Harry playing as a number ten. In other words (to clarify for older supporters) a new centre forward and Harry in an inside forward position. We already have a nice choice of fast, tricky players, to occupy other attacking positions.

Personally, I doubt that such a shift in position would affect Harry’s goal scoring feats as he would continue to find himself with goals scoring opportunities. And, with more freedom to roam, I would imagine that his reading of the game and passing ability would lead to many more goals from the assists he could make.

Harry is certainly not old, but he is getting older and it could well be that he will need to drop back in two or three years as part of the natural order of things. Maybe it would be beneficial to both the team, and him, if this happens sooner rather than later. And it would allow his all-round attributes to come into play.

Once again, I am not advocating this, just throwing it out for general discussion. Gotta love football!

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228 Replies to “Tottenham: Is Harry Kane In An Awkward Position At Spurs”

  • Geof….as an older supporter I would like to register a complaint on behalf of us all regarding your inference that due to our age we may not understand the difference between a number 9 and a number 10, it’s obvious to most of us that the difference is 1. 🙂

  • On a more serious note and to answer the question posed:

    As I have mentioned a few times now, Kane operates best as a traditional centre forward which means we generally have to play a formation that suits e.g. 442, or more often 4231, in order to accommodate him which we surely must when he is fit.

    In earlier discussions I have proposed that if he is injured, or we just want to rest him, we could take the opportunity to play a formation like 433 where we could have say Hojbjerg, Ndombele, and Lo Celso as a midfield 3 and have a fluid front 3 of say Sonny, Lucas, and Bergwijn. We could also do this during a game if things needed to be changed to get back into it.

    This would negate the need to have a clone of Kane who might spend most of his time sat on the bench, that’s assuming we could find someone of sufficient quality who would be prepared to come to Spurs to do this.

  • TQ …. I don’t disagree with any of that. We do have a squad of players which allow for a number of playing formations …. options which would increase further with the addition of another dedicated striker. Although I don’t consider that this position is a priority at the moment. But the addition of PH to the squad does address one priority. And thanks for pointing out the difference between 9 and 10. It certainly simplifies things. lol

  • Harry was used as a number 10 at times when he was being nursed back from injury under Poch. I can see him dropping into a Cahill, Dempsey, Lampard type position at some point. He has very good vision, we just don’t see enough of it.

  • TQ2, I disagree with you that Harry can’t play at his best in a 433 formation. He has played for England in a 433 and I thought it suited him very well. However Jose and Gareth set up their teams very differently to each other, no matter the starting formations they have each used. Southgate being much more attack minded than Jose’s very defensive ways…

    I don’t see Harry as an out and out CF. I think his play has changed a lot in the past couple of seasons. And he has been dropping more and more deep. Firstly under Poch and then with Southgate. At Spurs inthe past, he has been seen to drop deep with Dele often the more advanced player and then vice versa with Dele the deeper of the two.

    With England when GS has used him in a 433 set-up we would often see him drop deep with either Sterling, Rashford or both advancing into space. Either out wide or through stepping inside. With Harry supplying balls out wide to them or through the inside channels. And then Harry moving up to the more central CF position to receive crosses and passes or play one twos etc., in and around the box with his two striking partners in support. And with midfielders such as Barkley joining in.

    I think we have seen something similar at Spurs also under Jose as we did with MP. But from a more counter attacking perspective, with Harry even more deeper than before . But also advancing with speed along with the likes of Lucas and Son in support. Harry can also feed them from deep with his fine passing abilities. In a similar way as with Sterling and Rashford but from a different tactical angle with Jose’s Spurs….

    I see Harry as a No.10 and N0.9 hybrid, moving in and out of both roles with ease. Except that it is two traditional roles… Rolled into one.

    This idea that Spurs somehow need to replicate this with a Harry understudy is missing the point for me. As it is more to do with the skillset and adaptability of Harry as an. individual player with much his own style. And another player will have their own attributes to bring to a front line that is more suited to them. Rather than a mere imitation of what Harry can do in his own very personalised, “hybrid” fashion.

    Harry will score goals in whatever set up his managers play him in. I think he does however need to do more for Spurs of what I have seen with England. And that is to up his creative side with more direct assists for his Tottenham team mates. And then maybe we will see even more Son goals and more frequent goalscoring opportunities for Lucas and others too. And if the others around Harry are scoring more regularly alongside Harry, then it’s all the more likely they will continue to score without Harry on the pitch…

    As an aside, Harry chose his squad number for a couple of good reasons. He sees it as an iconic Spurs shirt number; Hoddle, Lineker etc…. But it was also Teddy Sheringham’s and Robbie Keane’s number. And both were idols of Harry’s. And even though they are all very different as players, at different times. There is a similarity in them being hybrid strikers if you like. And not simply old-style target men…

  • HARRY is a superb all round footballer. Two great feet, smart header, superb passer, good tackler and even competent defender. He is probably our best midfielder with his vision,strength and power. I keep wondering whether a support striker like the irrepressible Robbie Keane would do the trick. Certainly a midfield supremo like Modric would provide the service he needs. Dele’s lack of form and our impotent midfield needs addressing since the departure of Eriksen. We will not progress with our present set up unless N’Dombele suddenly becomes the class act he was. We do have the front runners but an extreme lack of midfield attackers who can pass and score. We need to boss the midfield like we used to. Then Harry can select his best style of play unless he becomes our key midfield general and we appoint that elusive No 9 to play in front of him.

  • Agreed Geoff and HT.
    Did Kane not drop back initially to that role when Lucas came at first. I may be wrong. I seem to remember the pundits discussing this”new role “around that time and how it might affect his scoring tally and therefore his England status.
    However to bring in another Striker /CF /front whilst as you say is not desperation at present. It would (for me) be a good option to have. Personally I wouldn’t want another Kane type player, but, someone who can play across the frontline and slip into the CF role when required. They are out there.
    Off Topic just found a gr8 Dab radio channel called” Love sport”. Funnily enough no sport on it that I’ve heard, but the music. Fantastic. Stones, Springsteen, Petty, The Clash, Queen, Bowie. No Mariah kerry, Madonna or Steps. Just seems to be good bands, you know who play instruments. Not many adds either and no shitty DJs. This may change just found it today.
    PS Geoff I know the difference between a No1 and No2 if that’s any good to you lol.

  • HT….I agree with some of what you say, I think to a degree his ability to play a bit deeper was only really discovered when he himself started doing so in a period during Poch’s reign when he wasn’t getting any service staying up top. :- )

  • HT …. Yes Harry has had periods in the past where he spent more time in a deeper role …. and it never affected his ability to score consistently. That’s the basic thinking behind this article. I actually enjoy watching him play more when he has more freedom to use his talent.

  • As Hot Tottingham has alluded to I’m not sure talking about nines and tens really applies to Harry. He has everything except blinding pace. You can play him as an orthodox nine with crosses coming in from the wings. You can play the England formation where he holds the ball, the wide players bomb past him and he plays them in. Whatever tactics a team plays he can make a contribution. Maybe the closest comparison I can make is Sheringham whan he played with Klinsmann but that was a different formation Harry has never really played in (though he could). The question really is how does Mourinho want to play ? To me he seems to want a front four that break quickly and score the goals. Harry won’t have a problem with that, he’ll score plenty and set up plenty. Its more about who plays with him, we’ll see next season I suppose. To me we still need a backup target man from somewhere, playing with Son as a false nine has always been hit and miss and I don’t think that will change under Mourinho. Where from though, if only we had Liverpool’s money ball set up to find players, plug the requirements into the computer and see who drops out …

  • Just read a long article in the online i-paper about Marcus Edwards (our own Lionel Messi!) who is now progressing well in Portugal. Such a shame we were not able to nurture this young talent who had a 10 minute cameo in the first team before getting an injury. We seem to have a dearth of talent coming through despite our wonderful training facilities. A talented attacking, creative midfielder would help so much in providing Harry and Son with further opportunities to score. We have two world class players in Harry and Son but without the promptings of Eriksen, we have gone backwards especially as Dele seems to have lost his spark. Kane is a fantastic goalscorer but just imagine if he had the through passes,service and crosses to punish retreating defenses. Harry is also our best attacking midfielder with his range of passing, direct play and free kicks. ( He even used to take the corners for England!!). So will we find those attacking wing backs, a strong attacking midfielder and maybe a foil to support our exceptional frontman. This could be a make or break season for Harry. There will be a huge queue for his sevices if we do not support him.

  • wentworth – Playing in Portugal is a hell of a long way from the top of the premier league. In terms of creative midfield play we’ll have to see what Lo Celsco can do next season. If N’Dombele was to play to his potential that would do the job, but I’m not holding my breath. Failing that you would have to bring in someone like Grealish and those players are few and far between.

  • Jod. Lo Celso has played 28 games for Spurs in the Prem and not scored and made 2 assists. He cannot shoot, is painfully one footed and falls over a lot. I am a fan of N’Dombele…. Highly skilful and creative. Regards Edwards, I was disappointed that we let him go when he seemed to be a decent prospect. A tricky character maybe but someone to excite the fans and bring something better to the table. As it is we had a very poor and boring end to the season. Spurs fans are not used to second best and they will soon show their disapproval. Audere eat facere. Hope Jose knows what that means.

  • Watching the RBL/AM CL game, I note Werner isn’t in the Leipzig squad, seems a bit daft he didn’t extend his contract by a month or two so he could play in the final stages and maybe win it, even if it is a long shot. Maybe Abramovich made him an offer he couldn’t refuse!

  • Paul Gascoigne movie coming out soon. Oh, how we could do with him now!! In fact, we could do with Hoddle, Waddle, Ardiles, Lineker, Modric, Bale, Van Der Vaart, Defoe, Keane, Berbatov, Ginola, Klinsman, Sheringham, Poyet. But we have Kane and Son. Let’s hope we can build on that this coming season. Time to be brave Levy and Jose. Second best will not do.

  • Fek me WW you’ve named about 14 players not a defender or goalie among em. Lol. We were sort of doing OK up front. It’s midfield and defence need real work. What about a Ledders, or a Perryman in there lol.

  • Niall. These are my suggestions to enhance Harry’s role. Anyone would do. Yep a Ledley, Mabbutt, Mullery, Perryman would support in front of Jennings, Clemence etc.

  • Wentworth; None of those past players helped Spurs to second in the top division or to a European cup/CL final…

    Spurs are better and have been better recently than many of the teams those guys have played in. Okay, many of them won cups with Spurs. But only one or two…

    The past is gone. This season coming will probably be nothing like last season and may well see our current players win something. Who knows?

    If they do win a trophy, it won’t mean that Lo Celso is better than Hoddle was or that Lloris is a better goalkeeper than Jennings. But it’s not all about the individuals. Not in the past, present or future. In fact we have had much better, stronger all-round squads these past few seasons than in the past, when many of those star players played for Spurs. And, we don’t have to go too far back beyond pre PL days, to see that clubs like City and Chelsea were skint and once or twice to be found in the lower divisions. So…

    Times change. Forget the past. Move on. Enjoy the now, for what it’s worth…… The best is always yet to come… Honestly!


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