Tottenham are wasting Harry Kane's time

14 February 2021 05:15

You might dislike him because you think he should have squared it to Raheem Sterling in the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

You might dislike him because he backs into opponents who jump over him.

Or you might dislike him simply because he always scores against the team you support. Or his slight lisp. People like making fun of that.

What a sight. But that's where it ends. | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

But regardless of all the above, there's no denying Harry Kane is one exceptional player. By most standards and certainly by Tottenham's, he's a generational talent. He recently passed Bobby Smith's haul of goals to go second in Spurs' all-time list and is just 57 behind first-placed Jimmy Greaves. At international level, he'll almost certainly pass Wayne Rooney's record tally of goals for England.

He's a Tottenham lad through and through, so it's easy to understand why the club's fans idolise him so much. He's brilliant. His ability to drop deep and link play has become even more evident this season, and the rest of the world is starting to catch on to that particular part of his game.

Unfortunately for Kane, he's a brilliant player at a not so brilliant club.

Tottenham were beaten 3-0 at Manchester City on Saturday night. At a basic level, that's not exactly horrific. City have been brilliant in recent months and will go on to win the Premier League in a season that looked like it would be a nine-horse race at times.

In reality, City barely got out of second gear. They were gifted a penalty which Hugo Lloris couldn't keep out, the Frenchman then couldn't stop Ilkay Gundogan for the German's first, and one long ball over the top and a couple of shimmies proved too good for Davinson Sanchez to deal with.

In fact, if you look at the defence Jose Mourinho picked to face City on Saturday night, it shows the extent to which those in the club's hierarchy have failed to invest in players who can match Kane's skill level.

Ben Davies has been a loyal servant to Spurs since signing from Swansea in 2014, but it's been a while since he had an unquestionably good game in the Premier League, and he'd be out of the team if Sergio Reguilon was fit.

Eric Dier has dropped disasterclass after disasterclass at the back this season, Davinson Sanchez seems to have lost all confidence in his ability, the holes in Hugo Lloris' gloves seem to be getting bigger and bigger, and Japhet Tanganga - the only one who played well - is still a child at this level.

Tottenham's attacking game plan is 'give the ball to Kane and Son Heung-min', while they pin their hopes on poor defenders at the back.

They're now ninth in the league - four points off fourth-placed Liverpool who are enduring a meltdown of their own - and the regression is there for all to see. And as each day goes by, generational talent Kane gets older.

Simply put, Tottenham are running out of time to make their club successful while Kane is there.

The time to invest was a few years ago, when Tottenham were expected to qualify for the Champions League each year and a solid top-three outfit. Instead, they went a year without making a signing and the rot set in. Mauricio Pochettino was given the boot and Mourinho brought in as Daniel Levy desperately clutched in vein to make a success of a bloated and tired squad that had reached the Champions League final the season prior.

In hindsight, a new project manager was required to ditch the deadwood, give Tottenham a new identity and restructure to become a force in a few years.

Instead, the club is now stuck with Mourinho without an identity while performances get worse with each passing game, and Kane has no obvious pathway out. In Covid times no club is going to be able to pay the asking rate for one of the world's best strikers, but equally there was nothing for Kane to get excited about during Saturday's loss, the free kick that rattled the bar aside.

Mourinho has helped Kane 'explode' but the team is getting worse | Pool/Getty Images

Kane has not been shy in talking about his ambition as a player. He told Thierry Henry in 2017 that 'in three years' time, if I haven't won a few trophies by then, I think it would be disappointing'. That was the first warning.

In 2020 while football was paused, Kane reiterated: "I’ve always said if I don’t feel progression in the team or it’s going the right direction then I’m not someone to just stay there for the sake of it." That should have been taken more seriously

The hints are there for all to see, and Tottenham are not improving. Apathy is creeping in and they are years behind a team like Manchester City or even Liverpool, whose current issues are well documented.

Mourinho was brought in to help Tottenham win straight away after years of promise under Pochettino, but right now his side's form is horrific and there are always excuses for defeats rather than the admission that the team is simply not playing well. It's worrying and doesn't hint at a promising future.

Lloris couldn't stop Rodri's penalty | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

If Tottenham do end up finishing somewhere around ninth, it won't be good enough for a Champions League-quality striker like Kane. He'll be forced to consider his future. He turns 28 in July but only has a few cup final appearances to show for all his loyalty to the club. He deserves better.

If he decides a change is in order, Spurs fans will know exactly who to blame: all of the people who have wasted his time with a lack of investment and ambition.

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Source: 90min