Tottenham Man of the Match: Harry Kane

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his sides third goal with Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur and Ben Davies of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on September 9, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his sides third goal with Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur and Ben Davies of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on September 9, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images) /
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Kane scored two of Tottenham’s three goals on a day in which the club seemed to once again belatedly find its rhythm.

Everton’s remarkably poor tactical choices played an outsized role, but Kane’s reclaimed mastery of the penalty area settled matters more than any other one factor.

The England international’s performance comes after yet another August passed by without a goal, a strange bugaboo that simultaneously defies explanation and encourages talk of an early season curse about both the player and the club.

Two goals for England in the international break did their part to establish the rhythm ahead of Spurs’ visit to Goodison Park on Saturday. The player himself even joked about reclaiming his goalscoring swagger now that his least favorite time of year had passed.

The real test was always going to be against Everton however. If he didn’t score here, or if Tottenham turned in another questionable performance, talk of regression would inevitably find a new, higher gear.

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Redemption came in the 28th minute, when Kane spied an opportunity to sneak in a cross to Everton’s far post. The ball was ever-so-slightly mishit however, which left Jordan Pickford just wrong footed enough to turn the cross into an opening goal.

Kane celebrated as much as one can after an unexpected outcome like that, but what he was attempting there actually said a lot about his impact on the day — and why he ultimately deserves the Man of the Match.

Ever since Kane earned the starting role at Tottenham, he’s been more than simply a striker. Though of course he’s demonstrably the best striker in England, his value is fleshed out by his willingness and ability to do precisely what he was attempting to do with that opening goal.

The number 10 on his back isn’t entirely an accident. Kane leads the line but he also drops back often to help thread together passes, help with the press or bring his teammates into the action as he was attempting to do here.

His efforts improve the chances of those around him both directly — he earned seven assists last season in the Premier League — and indirectly, by creating space and pulling apart defenses.

Twice after his accidental opener Kane almost played in a teammate to further add to Spurs’ dominance. The first was a short cross that caught Dele Alli wrong-footed, and the second a delightful chip over Everton’s backline to find Christian Eriksen, who couldn’t get the subsequent shot past Pickford.

In this way he emulates his former England teammate and opponent on the day, Wayne Rooney. The Everton forward also fancies a deeper, more holistic take on the forward position, and he often makes his teammates look much better as a result.

Next: Everton 0 - 3 Tottenham

Kane’s second goal was a much more typical striker’s effort, coming after a fine curved cross from Ben Davies. It’s that kind of bread-and-butter goal that should propel him to yet another run at the Golden Boot, but a wider frame of reference unveils a multi-faceted team player who should rightly be considered one of the best footballers in the world.