As the crowd at White Hart Lane blared, chanting “He’s Harry Kane, He’s one of our own”, Chelsea had nothing else to do except watch Spurs string delightful passes together and wind the shutters down in a game in which they were beaten soundly. As the score line read 5-3, Spurs fans knew they were experiencing something familiar. Kane, who had destroyed Jose Mourinho’s side, had been a revelation out of nowhere and the fear in Spurs fans’ mind was about something they couldn’t have avoided. Would the 22 year old turn out to be a one season wonder or would a club belonging to the first tier of elite clubs end up snapping up the starlet? But Kane has answered all of his critics rather defiantly.
The duo of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, who have almost single handedly led Leicester to uncharted and unseen lands, have been players who have almost out of nowhere to catch opposition players off guard. With respect and regard to all their exploits and admirable showings, it’s Harry Kane who has to be the Premier League’s Player of the Season, as it stands.
Kane, who didn’t score any goals in Spurs’ first 5 or 6 games, was described as being a one season wonder by fans. But few failed to realize that throughout that early period in the League, the now 23 year old was gradually transforming himself into a more complete and well-rounded player than ever before.
The way he dropped deep to allow wingers and full backs to maraud forward was something we hadn’t seen him do last season. The manner in which he conducted play, bringing others into play and helping Spurs to break at the counter was something that made him a better player overall. Despite of developing new traits, the Englishman retained the attributes he had last season- pressing the opposition high up the pitch and nicking it in areas close to goal and improving his ability to take players on and his tendency to sneak in behind improved just as well.
Both Mahrez and Vardy, who have been unexpected wonders, played a big role in helping Leicester survive the drop last season and have carried on from where they left off last season. Nobody expected them to perform just as well when the season began and there was hardly a burden of expectations on their shoulders, unlike Kane.
For Kane, there were reports linking him to Manchester United and talks of interest from sides like Juventus and Real Madrid, with him being valued at around £50 million. He had an unthinkable amount of pressure on him to replicate his performances this season and more so, prove people who dubbed him a ‘one season wonder’ early on in the season wrong. Not just this, but the former Millwall and Norwich loanee had the stifling burden of justifying his price tag that Daniel Levy had appended to his gilded name just to get rid of interest other clubs had in him.
More so, Kane hadn’t scored even once in the first five or six games, building more pressure on him to perform as well as last season. And when Spurs played host to Manchester City some months ago at White Hart Lane, revenge was on the cards and revenge was exactly what Spurs extracted. Thanks to inspiring performances from Kane, Lamela and Hueng Min Son, City were routed 4-1.
It was after the hammering of City that Kane’s storm began to gather momentum. He grabbed a hat trick against Bournemouth in a game in which Spurs romped to a 5-1 triumph. Kane grabbed another and could’ve scored one or two more in the North London Derby. The Englishman began to look a more reliable player for Roy Hodgson’s English side than Wayne Rooney or Jamie Vardy and even now, whenever Kane starts up top, the English side’s playing style looks more convincing and free flowing than with Rooney up top.
Even when Kane doesn’t find the back of the net, he works very hard off the ball to win the ball and does everything within his reach to contribute for the good of the team, much like Vardy.
The amount of pressure that Kane had to deal with was crippling or more than just that. Mahrez and Vardy are lucky to have been playing for Leicester and not Spurs or Liverpool. And if Kane would’ve been plying his trade with say- Leicester themselves, the burden of expectations wouldn’t have been as much as it was at Spurs, because people expect more of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club than Leicester City. And the fact that Kane used the burden as a catapult for improving is remarkable and the credit goes to no one else but Mauricio Pochetinno.