Harry Kane’s work off the ball key to Tottenham’s success

Tottenham Hotspur, Harry Kane (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur, Harry Kane (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) /

Harry Kane is back to his best for Tottenham, displaying the all-around game that elevates his status to world’s best forward.

When it comes to the best football players on the planet, the Ballon d’Or is considered the top award. At his best in 2017 and 2018, Harry Kane was shortlisted – finishing 10th each year. Then came his injury at the start of 2019 and a subsequent, natural, drop in form. As a result, Kane failed to make the top 30 in 2019.

On the one hand Kane is the classic poacher. When he is within sight of the target, he often has a shoot first mentality. However, for Kane to get back to being included in conversation as the world’s best, he needs to contribute in other areas.

With the recent change in management and a full bill of health, Kane is getting back to what makes him one of the best players on the planet. He is knocking the ball accurately with range all over the park, leading by example and running relentlessly off the ball, both in and out of possession.  If Tottenham are to end the club’s silverware dry spell, Kane will have to be at his best, as he was against Burnley. What makes Kane so special is his ability to influence the game and raise the level of the team.

Harry dropping deep

Harry’s ability to drop deep into midfield and redistribute the ball helps the rest of the attacking band, particularly Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min. Dele, Son, and Moura overlap and push forward when Kane drops deep, allowing more dynamic players to enter the attack.

Holding up play and distributing back or out wide with effectively opens space behind for the third man running over the top. Son and Dele are both taking advantage of their colleague’s intelligent play. Kane is stretching opposing defences and shifting the point of play to deadly effect.

Kane’s aerial prowess

We know about Harry Kane’s ability to score goals with his head, but it is his desire to compete in the air for the long balls that adds to his overall worth. Fernando Lorrente’s willingness over the last couple of seasons to go up for long balls in the air contributed massively to Tottenam’s offensive game. Kane, while not as tall as his former teammate, also causes centre backs fit in the air.

Kane draws centre backs toward him, even if he loses the ball. Spurs can then win the second ball and exploit the void left by the out-of-position centre half. Kane also wins his fair share of aerial challenges ball, again allowing overlapping runs to take the flicks on at pace. Harry Kane’s effortto compete for every up and under will lead to even more chances.

Pressing Kane

Just like the effort needed to compete for aerial balls and give his team the edge, Kane’s intensity is as important when Spurs don’t have the ball. For the press to work, Kane must hurry and harass the opposition’s defence high. Of course Kane won’t be able to do this for 90 minutes, but it’s important for him to spearhead his side’s press.

Back when Tottenham, and Kane, were at their best under Mauricio Pochettino in 2017-18, the Englishman was putting in the work to create pressure. While turnovers didn’t eventuate from yesterday’s press, it’s only a matter of time before Kane’s work rate causes the opposition to cough it up. Again, it also shows Kane’s willingness to lead by example. His work rate is being adopted by his teammates.

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If Tottenham are going win trophies, the press has to work to be an effective part of their strategy. To make the press work, you need a striker leading the charge. Kane has been that man and based on Saturdays performance, it looks like doesn’t have any intention of taking his foot off the gas.