England’s loss in the finals of Euro 2020 must of felt familiar to Harry Kane, as it sure did to Tottenham fans after the lost leads of last season.
It seemed too good to be true. It was about as perfect of a start as England could have hoped for. Harry Kane dropped deep and in a sight distantly familiar to Tottenham fans, turned and sprayed the ball wide to Kieran Trippier. Trippier’s pinpoint precise pass to Luke Shaw giving the Three Lions the early lead was more than any England fan could have hoped for.
However, the intensity of early success faded as the game went on, leaving the Three Lions looking a lot like Tottenham Hotspur from last season, struggling to hold the lead. While England lost in a shoot-out, it was the inability to hold the lead that hurts the most.
Tottenham, Kane know about losing leads
It may be the main reason Jose Mourinho is gone or at least is one of them, as the Spurs struggled mightily holding leads last season. The problems that plagued Tottenham of dropping too deep and conceding too many attempts were evident in the final for England.
An early aggressive press from all the players slowly became a one-man show as only Kalvin Phillips seemed committed to a consistent press. Whereas Kane, Sterling, and Mount started the match near the Italy penalty box defensively, they steadily dropped deeper and deeper giving Italy the needed passing lanes to exploit England just enough defensively.
As the press dropped deeper and deeper Kane grew less and less effective. As Kane’s influence on the match waned and the Three Lions rarely threatened the Italy goal after about 30 minutes.
Tottenham can learn from the England loss
If nothing else, Nuno Espirito Santo and his staff can be reassured that continuing to drop deep early after leads is not a path to success. What was seen from Tottenham last season was not an aberration, it was an invitation to opponents and they happily obliged.
The hiring of Santo – a coach known for aggressive, high octane teams – is a direct response to the Spur’s tendency to sit back and wait. The loss in the biggest game of his life for Kane should only further instill the need to be aggressive, not passive on the pitch.