By Ellen Farrell.
The 21-year-old has matured into one of the Premier League’s most lethal strikers and first pick ahead of £26million Soldado, which is testament to Tottenham’s nurturing of homegrown talent.
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At the start of the season, the name Harry Kane was barely on the football radar – but 26 goals later, including two against bitter rivals Arsenal, and he has propelled himself into contention for England. Along the way, the 21-year-old has gained much admiration and praise from pundits, managers and players alike. Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher’s hailed Kane as a “genius” and national boss Roy Hodgson believes he is worth a place in his squad.
Tottenham have done a tremendous job in nurturing Spurs fan Kane’s talents. The Walthamstow-born star was relatively late on the scene in comparison with the precocious talents of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere of Arsenal, who both made their Premier League debuts as 16-year-olds. Kane may not have been a child prodigy, having been released by both Arsenal and Watford, but quietly went about his development as he was loaned out to lower league teams to gain first-team experience. Away from the top-flight glare, he was free to play without hype and a crippling weight of expectation.
His transformation into a White Hart Lane hero is all the more remarkable, considering he is keeping £26million marquee signing Roberto Soldado out of the side. Kane came through the ranks at Spurs for nothing. His meteoric rise to becoming a formidable striker feared by Premier League opponents is a credit to Tottenham’s faith in a homegrown player – and other teams should take note.
With the increasing riches involved in football, it’s the easy option for clubs to pay excessive fees for established foreign players, instead of giving English kids the chance. It is no wonder the Premier League, which is the richest in the world, has one of the lowest percentages of homegrown players.
Teams need to take the gamble and prioritise club-trained players over foreign talent, which Tottenham are also doing with Andros Townsend and Ryan Mason. Spurs are now reaping the rewards as Kane’s goalscoring prowess has taken them to the brink of the top four. When former Real Madrid kid and Valencia star Soldado first arrived, the Tottenham crowds chanted: “He came from sunny Spain to play at White Hart Lane” – but this has now been replaced with, “He came from sunny Spain to train with Harry Kane”. A fitting tribute to a local lad, who has proved he is more than capable of reaching the expected heights of foreign imports when given the chance.
Tottenham are setting an example; and Kane has committed his long-term future to the club after signing a new five-and-a-half-year contract in February. It is refreshing to see a player representing his boyhood club and staying true to club loyalties, instead of being swayed by pound signs.
Read more from Ellen Farrell here.