Tuesday, February 17, 2015

PFA Young Player of the Year: Can anyone stop Harry Kane? by Steve Jennings

by Steve Jennings for World Football Commentaries


Premier League 201415
Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.

Synopsis:

Steve Jennings concisely analyzes the ascent of Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League.












Destroying all in his path, the severe weather warning that is Harry Kane shows no signs of stopping in his bid for world (football) domination. White Hart Lane’s newest hero is well on his way to an England call-up as his Tottenham side shorten in the running for the top four. Further recognition could come at the end of the season in the form of the Young Player of the Year award. But will Eden Hazard have something to say about that? Or is Kane destined for an even bigger prize?
Staking a Claim


Kane has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season, which is more than any other Premier League player has managed. Early in the campaign, many of the striker’s goals came against lesser Europa League opposition, the likes of AEL Limassol and Asteras Tripolis. But more recently, Kane has proved his true quality against Tottenham’s fiercest rivals, Chelsea and Arsenal, scoring twice against both.
Luck has seemingly played little if any part in Kane’s incredible rise. His goals against Chelsea displayed the touch, the turn and the power of a top striker. His knack of being in the right place at the right time against Arsenal demonstrated the instinctive nature of a star forward. His header for his second in the North London Derby – Kane can clearly finish on the big occasions.
It is difficult to look back and remember a young player improve so much in such a short space of time. Close to home, Kane’s development is arguably comparable to that of Gareth Bale. The talent was clearly there for a number of years with Bale, but it wasn’t until his final six months at White Hart Lane that the Welshman became truly unstoppable.
Keeping Calm


Of course, comparisons with Bale must be notched down a little with Kane. Prior to his first-team arrival at Spurs, the 21-year old may have been highly rated by just about all of his past coaches, but fans of various loan clubs were quick to write him off. Tim Sherwood’s belief in Kane, combined with Mauricio Pochettino’s patience and persistence, allowed him to flourish. He is not world class like Bale. Not yet. But his attitude, his willingness to get better every day - that’s what Bale showcased at Tottenham. And that’s exactly what Kane is doing right now.
Goals are the primary reason Kane is currently getting so much recognition. The sheer number of accolades January’s Player of the Month is receiving will inevitably see him shortlisted for the Young Player of the Year award at the season’s end. Eden Hazard and Raheem Sterling will deservedly be recognised too. But Kane’s goal tally puts the others to shame at this point.
And why shouldn’t it? Kane is a striker after all. Hazard and Sterling are midfielders, who have so far scored 14 and nine goals respectively in all competitions this term. Kane’s preferential treatment is perhaps down to the amount of goals he scores completely of his own doing. He has effectively been Spurs’ only striker for most of the season, contributing to just about all of Tottenham’s forward play. With the absence of Daniel Sturridge for most of the year, Sterling has taken up a similar role for Liverpool. Hazard, on the other hand, has been playing in a table topping team as part of a lethal attacking force all season. Given his undoubted skill, perhaps the Belgian should have netted more than nine league goals.
Crossovers
If Kane and Hazard keep up their current form, it is entirely possible they will both be considered for the full Player of the Year award, as well as the ‘Young’ category. The shock value of Kane’s evolution should not be underestimated. It would be an incredible achievement for him to win any award come May, let alone the highest individual domestic honour.

About the Author

Steve Jennings is a freelance football writer from the U.K. He is a regular contributor to Unibet, 888Sport, TottenhamBlog and others. You can follow Steve @SteveJenn93 on Twitter.

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