Earlier this week on Monday Night Football, pundits Jamie Carragher and Thierry Henry both claimed that Tottenham striker Harry Kane isn’t world class because he hasn’t produced outside of the Premier League. Now, I normally agree with the former Liverpool centre-half on most things, but his claim here was completely absurd.
Harry Kane scored 29 league goals last season, in a league many claim is the best in the world. The season before: 25, making him the top goalscorer in the last two seasons, beating the likes of Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic—strikers many people claim are world class. Oh, and the season before that? Just the 21 league goals this time.
Jamie Carragher’s argument had some legs to it; to be a top player, it’s understandable to think that you need to be doing it in the biggest competitions. But, Tottenham are no Chelsea, as good as they’ve been over the last two seasons, and you feel their time may have passed them by, and, they haven’t had the resources to go into the latter stages of Europe. Kane is young, and has plenty of time, but similarly to Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, he hasn’t played with many world class players. Gerrard’s failure to win trophies consistently didn’t mean he wasn’t world class, and although I believe Harry Kane will go on to win trophies, just because he hasn’t at the moment, doesn’t mean he isn’t world class right now either. Besides, Kane has already started to dismantle Henry and Carragher’s argument by scoring his first Champions League hat-trick; quite probably the first of many.
Goalscoring to one side, Kane’s overall play is second to none, currently better than Aguero’s, and superior even to the impressive Romelu Lukaku. His hold-up play and ability to bring other players into the game, and to find space, as well as his vision on the ball is scarily good for a 24-year old.
Kane may well have to leave his boyhood club if he is to win major honours, and Carragher’s statement may be leaning onto that aspect more, with some comments getting lost in translation a little. But, Kane’s footballing ability isn’t absent from the very top just because his trophy cabinet may need a little dusting off.
Kane’s poor performances at Euro 2016 may be the reason for some other peoples’ hesitation when it comes to declaring his world class status, but as the last few years have passed by, Kane’s ability has elevated hastily, and, the forward’s quality, as well as his strength—have him possessing the aura of Robert Lewandowski. Kane is England’s only world class asset, and there’s a reason Mauricio Pochettino said he would rather have Kane than Cristiano Ronaldo, even if he was slightly over-exaggerating.
The Premier League is currently enjoying something of a resurgence, with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea once again looking like they can all seriously compete, not just for the league title, but also for the Champions League. In England, the world’s best managers are now working with some of the world’s best strikers, with a golden age of world class strikers in the Premier League. At the top of that list sits Harry Kane.