England's New Striking Hope: Is Harry Kane the Real Deal?
With the Premier League - and indeed farther afield - world's all talking about Harry Kane's explosion onto the footballing scene this term, there is talk of a new golden era of striking options for the Three Lions.
With half of the top scoring strikers in the English top flight from these shores (with Wayne Rooney at number 10), it is a dramatic departure for English football and for the forward line as a whole. As we approach the final third of the 2014/15 campaign, the consistencies of these four or five English striker are now coming under the spotlight.
So do this new blood of attackers have what it takes and particularly on the international stage?
We have to begin with the aforementioned Kane. After Tottenham's danger man scored another domestic brace to take his tally to 12 this term, the world has sat up and started to take real notice of the former Arsenal player and reject, which has made events of the past weekend all the sweeter for the Chingford born striker. What makes Kane stand out from any other player right now, is his hunger after being on the fringes for so long.
Originally the 25 year old was blooded into first team action this season, in the Europa League. But having scored in both legs of Spurs' playoff-qualifying victories, he then went on to notch his first professional hattrick versus Asteras Tripoli. The clamour was there for Kane to be a first team regular and after the North Londoners experienced the 'difficult' stage of Emmanuel Adebayor, so it was to be.
Having already scored three in as many games last campaign, Kane was used as a substitute versus Aston Villa, coming on to score the winner. The striker was then given a starting role and by-and-large the rest is history. The Tottenham faithful expected him to score, but surely not to such an extent. Now suddenly Harry Kane has the world at his feet and allcomers have called for his inclusion in the upcoming England squad. So what might Kane give England that they currently lack?
Harry Kane's game is more than just scoring goals. Together with the 12 times he has found the net this season, he has also assisted 5 times and has been The Lily Whites' man of the match in a third of their games since November.
If we delve deeper into the keys to his game that make him a real target man, Kane has a better aerial prowess (in terms of headers won) than Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. Of those three only Ronaldo has a better pass success rate than Kane. He is also in the upper echelons of the take ons charts, with only Bale ahead of his English counterpart.
Kane is the driving force behind this current Spurs top four assault. As is the other English forward to have had an incredible campaign thus far, Charlie Austin.
Austin is to QPR's relegation fight as Kane is to Tottenham's Champions League aspirations. After Austin had scored 10 times in as many appearances for the Hoops between late October and Boxing Day, the Berkshire born striker hasn't found the net in month and now has suffered a foot injury. Whilst Kane is yet to have a real dip in form, he has scored an remarkable 10 goal in 9 games.
We have all seen however, that despite impressive the form may be domestically, for their country it is all too often a different tale.
England have lacked a prolific goalscorer since Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer and it is testament to Kane that many are calling him a hybrid of the two. Pace; intelligence; an eye for goal and above all superior aerial ability.
Furthermore, England have lacked a fear factor in their numbers for some time, aside from perhaps Theo Walcott and now Raheem Sterling with their electric, almost unsurpassed speed and acceleration.
With Harry Kane, England have something different.
Like we have seen with Andy Carroll, opposition defences simply have no easy way to defend against the gangly and towering striker because of the surprisingly high level of skill the former Newcastle and Liverpool front man possesses. With Kane, as applies to all the best number 9's, he could be having the worst performance and still be able to deliver.
Not only has Kane scored on a regular basis this term, he has done it in the big games. The 21 year old is clearly not over overawed by his surroundings. Versus Chelsea, Kane scored twice, both impressively and causing disarray in a previously stubborn Blues defence. Again versus Arsenal, Kane scored twice. The second of which was of the sort of quality that dumbfounded many watching at the ground. To place a deep, swirling cross from the left and the pick it at the right height and balance to redirected a header past a helpless David Ospina in the Arsenal goal, was magic. It was the sort of winning goal where time stood still as it dropped into the net. Mesmeric.
It is of course still early days for Harry Kane, but being barely only twenty he has room to grow.
With England already boasting the potential of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott in their midst and with messrs Carroll, Austin and Danny Ings waiting in the wings England have more than a few aces in the hole.
With European Championship qualification all but a certainty now also - with The Three Lions having a 100% record - France 2016 for England and very possibly Harry Kane, may be very interesting indeed.