X

Harry Kane is Champions League class but jury still out on Tottenham ahead of Juventus clash

The England striker deserves a trophy but Spurs must prove they can fulfil his wishes soon, writes Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey 2018/02/12

Harry Kane added another clipping to his scrapbook after vanquishing Arsenal in Saturday’s derby, but towards the front, there are a few spare pages waiting to be filled.

If scoring goals is all that Kane cared about then it’d already be full to the brim. It’s just all a little too similar at the moment.

What the world’s best striker truly wants is a picture or two of him with a toothy grin and a trophy in his hands that isn’t a golden boot or another personal trinket.

If he doesn’t accomplish that desire with England – ha! – then Tottenham are his only outlet. And he may just begin to realise the futility of that if Spurs do not make an impact in the Champions League over the course of their round-of-16 tie with Juventus.

If Europe’s most lethal striker draws a blank and Tottenham tumble out at this stage there will still be no questions of his class.

Spurs fans like to joke that he’s a ‘four-season wonder’, given the long-held expectation by the cynics that an unremarkable lad from Essex must surely run out of steam before long. Well, he runs on renewables, given the 131 goals he has so far scored in a lilywhite shirt by the age of 24.

The question marks instead linger over a section of north London that starts in Wembley and ends back at White Hart Lane.

Spurs, as far as first XIs go, are the match of most in the world. Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Harry Kane; no team would want for a more solid spine. Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min and Dele Alli, on his day, pack some mighty fine muscle up front too.

It is the greatest team in Tottenham’s history that has yet to win anything. But therein lies a warning – the second-greatest team in Tottenham’s history, in which Ossie Ardiles, Chris Waddle and Clive Allen tormented defenders 30 years ago, never won anything either.

This current incarnation has stuck together for longer and though from one side the future looks promising, the other looks worryingly murky.

Tottenham cannot compete with Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid et al in the financial stakes yet, thanks to the efforts of Mauricio Pochettino, they can afford to not afford and still keep hold of their coat-tails.

A bigger problem is their new stadium, which in theory will generate more revenue but in the short-term threatens to bog  progress down.

According to reports late last year, projected costs have spiralled from an initial £400m to £1bn and chairman Daniel Levy will have to rely on a mix of advance hospitality sales, naming rights and debt to cover the increased burden.

It can only mean less money available to strengthen the squad and in a world in which Manchester City can buy a defender that they don’t really need for a cool £53m in January, this is not the time to be frugal.

Mark of a Champion: Harry Kane has scored six times in the Champions League already this year.

Meanwhile, Kane is happy. With a caveat. When asked what Tottenham must do to keep him that way recently, he stated: “I’ve always said: keep progressing, keep getting better, we want to start winning trophies. That’s the aim, as long as the club keep doing that then, yeah I’m happy here.”

For a team that last lifted silverware a decade ago, any trophy would surely be a start. The League Cup may be a poxy little trophy in some people’s eyes but to Kane, a first senior trophy of any kind would be fulfilling. What happened this year? A 3-2 loss at Wembley to a rudderless West Ham in the fourth round, a game that Kane was ‘rested’ for.

Even beating a minnow in the FA Cup has proven a struggle this season. Newport County, a team three tiers below Tottenham in England, were eight minutes away from knocking them out before Kane’s intervention. That goal probably won’t make the scrapbook.

From Newport to Turin on Tuesday. Juventus have kept 15 clean sheets in their last 16 matches and it is not a challenge that will faze Kane.

After all, he was made for this stage – now what about Tottenham?

We Recommend
Related Tags
Daniel Levy Harry Kane Juventus Spurs tottenham Wembley White Hart Lane