Harry Kane has become the ultimate forward


Harry Kane is in the form of his life, which is saying something given the heights he has reached over the last seven seasons. The 27-year-old has started the 2020/21 campaign with five goals and seven assists in five games for Tottenham Hotspur, turning in particularly noteworthy displays against Southampton, Manchester United and West Ham.

Of course, Kane’s productivity in front of goal has never been in any doubt. He is one of the greatest goalscorers of the Premier League era, currently ranked 11th in the division’s all time goalscorers list, with Sergio Aguero the only active player ahead of him. It’s entirely feasible Kane could finish his career atop the pile.

What has been most remarkable about Kane’s stunning start to the season has been the manner of his performances. The Spurs skipper isn’t just finishing chances, he’s creating them too. In fact, Kane has become the dynamo through which the majority of Tottenham’s attacking play flows.

At times last season, Kane’s tendency to drop deep was seen as a weakness. This propensity often meant he was out of position when Spurs found themselves in a dangerous position, leading many to suggest Kane should instead focus his efforts on getting into the box to finish off chances.

Harry Kane is now doing that, but he is still dropping deep to pick up the ball and drive it forward. Rather than adapting his game, the Tottenham Hotspur forward has simply added more to it. Long considered the best natural finisher in the Premier League, he is now also the division’s most accomplished, well-rounded striker.

Only Son Heung-Min has averaged more key passes per 90 minutes (3.2) than Kane (2.6) so far this season. Nobody has registered more assists (seven), while his average of five shots per 90 minutes is double the number of Spurs’ second most prolific shot taker (Giovani Lo Celso – 2.5). Kane isn’t just a centre forward, he’s a one man attacking hub.

The closest thing to Harry Kane in the European game right now is Karim Benzema. He too is a more rounded striker than is orthodox. He too dictates the majority of his team’s attacking play, creating as many chances as he finishes. Without Benzema, Real Madrid are somewhat rudderless and lacking in final third framework.

In the Premier League, though, there is nobody of this type at Kane’s level. Roberto Firmino is valued for his all-round game but the Brazilian doesn’t possess the finishing instincts of his Tottenham counterpart. Most centre forwards are either finishers or facilitators. Kane, however, is both.

To play this sort of game, Kane must be in peak physical condition. This is something that has evaded him over the last two seasons, with the England captain suffering a number of stubborn knocks and niggles traceable all the way back to the 2018 World Cup when Kane won the Golden Boot playing half-injured.

This summer, however, seemingly allowed Harry Kane time to recuperate, with Tottenham out of the Champions League before lockdown. While many of his Premier League rivals spent August in Lisbon playing high pressure knockout games every few days, Kane and his Spurs teammates were resting ahead of the new season. The benefit of that has been evident in their recent performances.

Kane’s brilliance isn’t anything new, but the way his game has changed over the years has taken him to an even higher level. The best players adapt and tailor their methods over the course of their careers and that’s exactly what the Tottenham captain has done. His recent numbers might not be sustainable, but the manner of his performances certainly is.

 


 

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