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Harry Kane the pass master: Tottenham's deadly forward has shown he is no one-trick pony


Since emerging for Tottenham as a 20-year-old, Harry Kane has proven time and time again that he is no one-trick pony.

Rival fans labelled him a ‘one-season wonder’ – a tag quickly dispelled by Kane who went on to win back-to-back Premier League Golden Boot awards from 2015 to 2017, and the World Cup Golden Boot in 2018, establishing himself as one of the game’s best strikers. 

And while Kane is targeting Alan Shearer’s record as the Premier League’s all-time top goalscorer, his superb passing range makes him an absolute nightmare to defend against too. 

Harry Kane has already broken records following his lightning-quick start to the season

Harry Kane has already broken records following his lightning-quick start to the season

Kane beat Thierry Henry's 15-year record for most goal contributions after five games

Kane beat Thierry Henry’s 15-year record for most goal contributions after five games

Inside the opening minute of Tottenham’s clash with West Ham last Sunday, Kane picked out Son Heung-min with a sublime pass to register his seventh assist for the season. 

His vision and passing ability saw Jamie Carragher hail him as one of the ‘best passers in world football’, earning him comparisons to fellow Tottenham great Glenn Hoddle.

‘Harry Kane is one of the best passers in world football I think – that was a Glenn Hoddle pass. I’m not just talking about the assists he’s got in the last few games’, Carragher said.

‘When the ball comes into him his appreciation for where players are is fantastic.’

Kane set up Son Heung-min to score the opening goal against West Ham last Sunday

Kane set up Son Heung-min to score the opening goal against West Ham last Sunday

Spurs' talisman was lauded for his sublime pass to the South Korean in the opening minutes

Spurs’ talisman was lauded for his sublime pass to the South Korean in the opening minutes

Shortly after setting up Son to score the opener, Kane would grab a quick-fire brace to see Spurs race into a comfortable 3-0 lead at White Hart Lane after just 16 minutes – a lead they would later surrender in spectacular fashion in the dying embers.

Regardless of their defensive collapse that robbed Jose Mourinho of two points, Kane’s electric start to the season has rightfully earned him the plaudits as one of the game’s best all-round strikers. 

Kane’s two goals and one assist against the Hammers saw him surpass Thierry Henry’s 15-year record for the most goal contributions inside the opening five games of a Premier League season.

Jamie Carragher was full of praise for Kane following his first-half display against West Ham

Jamie Carragher was full of praise for Kane following his first-half display against West Ham 

In the 2004-05 campaign, Henry scored four goals and notched seven assists in five matches for Arsenal but Kane managed to go one better than the Frenchman, scoring one more and matching his assist tally in the same amount of time.

His remarkable start of 12 goal contributions show he can play anywhere in the opposition half and help contribute in all areas from the opening game of the season.   

But that hasn’t always been the case. 

Up until the start of the 2018-19 season, Kane failed to score in 14 games in the month of August before he finally ended that hoodoo with a strike against Fulham.

In previous years, the 27-year-old was known to be a notoriously slow starter for Spurs

In previous years, the 27-year-old was known to be a notoriously slow starter for Spurs

In 2018, Kane ended a barren run of failing to score in the month of August, a run that lasted for 1,065 minutes over five seasons, as he scored in a 3-1 win against Fulham (pictured)

In 2018, Kane ended a barren run of failing to score in the month of August, a run that lasted for 1,065 minutes over five seasons, as he scored in a 3-1 win against Fulham (pictured)

That goal against the Cottagers ended a barren run in the first month of a Premier League campaign that had lasted for 1,065 minutes over five seasons. 

Since then, and with the help of a global pandemic, Kane has managed to score in every month of the calendar year and is now just two strikes away from 200 career goals for his boyhood club.

While his goalscoring record is only bettered by the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski, Kane has been criticised in the past for his lack of assists despite claims that he is one of the game’s great playmakers. 

Those who watch Kane week-in and week-out will argue that passing has always been one of his strengths but that statistics have often gone against him.

Over the years, Kane has managed a passing accuracy of around 70 per cent and is fairly consistent when it comes to creating chances for his team-mates.

The most chances Kane has created in a season was 44, when Spurs disappointingly finished third in Leicester City’s title-winning campaign. 

But in just five games this season, he’s already created 13. 

While he may have been creating several chances for his team-mates, the assists just haven’t been there for him.

Jose Mourinho's subtle change to Kane's role has helped bring out Kane's creative powers

Jose Mourinho’s subtle change to Kane’s role has helped bring out Kane’s creative powers

Kane can drop deeper, with Bale slotting in on the right and pushing up high with Son to stretch defences

Kane can drop deeper, with Bale slotting in on the right and pushing up high with Son to stretch defences 

Before this season, Kane only managed 20 Premier League assists in the last seven years – a laughable total if he is to be compared to the game’s best playmakers. 

However, should he steer clear of injury and continue his fine form, Kane will be well on his way to breaking another one of Henry’s records of 20 assists in a season.

Kane’s role at Tottenham has been evolving constantly over the years but Mourinho looks to have hit the sweet spot in the Englishman’s game, especially when Kane collects the ball from deep and utilises the likes of Son and Gareth Bale on either wing.

He displayed this in a virtuoso performance against Southampton earlier in the season that saw him pick out Son time after time, acting almost as a false nine where he would provide the lightning-fast South Korean star with four goals as Spurs romped to a 5-2 win at St Mary’s, which helped showcase his superb passing range and ability in a deeper role.

Kane is now leading from the front for Spurs and has five goals and seven assists for the season

Kane is now leading from the front for Spurs and has five goals and seven assists for the season

Currently, Spurs find themselves sixth in the table having won two, drawn two and lost once. Two late equalisers conceded to Newcastle and the Hammers – one via an awful penalty decision and the other from Manuel Lanzini’s one-in-a-million shot – have seen Mourinho’s side drop four points with practically the last kick of each game, showing that the north London club should only be a point behind leaders Everton.

Manuel Lanzini’s last-minute thunderbolt on Sunday will have been a real hammer blow for Kane and Co, especially having squandered their three-goal lead in the space of 10 minutes.

But when you look at the bigger picture, should Kane keep up his tremendous form, Tottenham’s wait to finally win some silverware might just come to an end.

Dimitar Berbatov is just one of Spurs’ former greats who never did get his hands on a trophy while at the club, and even the prodigiously gifted Bulgarian was impressed with Kane’s creative talents.

‘Kane’s assist at the weekend, that’s next level s***, you expect that from Kevin De Bruyne,’ said Berbatov, who scored 46 goals in 102 games for Spurs. 

He also claimed that the Tottenham striker is alongside Robert Lewandowski as ‘two of the best talents in our sport,’ and that they are just ‘after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’ in terms of talent.

Watford captain Troy Deeney also insisted yesterday that Kane is among the world’s greatest five players, but believes he does not get the credit he deserves.

‘That “world class” debate is interesting because unless your name is foreign, you don’t ever get put in that category as world class,’ Deeney told talkSPORT.

‘People go: “Lewandowski, Benzema” – they always put people above (Kane). His goal record is ridiculous.

‘If someone said: “[Who are] your top five world class players,” people don’t naturally go for Harry Kane.

Kane is outscoring and out-creating the great Lionel Messi by far during this season

Kane is outscoring and out-creating the great Lionel Messi by far during this season

Cristiano Ronaldo lags behind Kane's incredible stats too, having played just three games

Cristiano Ronaldo lags behind Kane’s incredible stats too, having played just three games

Kevin De Bruyne has only one eighth of Kane's assists this term, but has created more chances

Kevin De Bruyne has only one eighth of Kane’s assists this term, but has created more chances

‘He’s world class. He’s ridiculous. His goal tally is a joke. If you see now, the passing that he is adding and the assists.

‘There was one where he hit the post against West Ham. It got pulled back to him and he’s coming onto it first time with the left foot and he’s just slapped the post. You are like: “Wow.” That just shows the level of what this guy can do.’

Kane’s stats this season undoubtedly justify both Berbatov and Deeney’s claims. 

His 10 goals this season at 1.4 per game eclipses Messi’s record of two at 0.4 per game by a long way. Ronaldo has three goals in just two games, with his season disrupted by positive Covid-19 tests.

De Bruyne, widely regarded as the greatest creative talent in the Premier League and possibly the world, has just one assist so far to Kane’s eight. De Bruyne is, however, racking up a whopping 4.7 chances created per game to Kane’s 2.0, suggesting either Manchester City’s finishing has been below par or Tottenham’s has been superb. Given Son’s electric form, it could well be more of the latter.

Whatever the answer, Kane’s stats this season are, as Deeney neatly puts it, just ridiculous.

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