Is Harry Kane English Football’s Most Valuable Player?
If there was a Most Valuable Player award in European football, Harry Kane could well be the frontrunner right now.
Earlier this season, Tottenham's talisman has been in the form of his life. The 27-year-old became only the third player in Spurs' history to reach the 200-goal milestone when scoring against Ludogorets in the Europa League.
Only Jimmy Greaves is above Kane on the club's all-time scoring list and the way things are going, Kane will score the 51 goals needed to be Tottenham's top scorer in the next season or two.
In the Premier League, Kane is just one goal behind Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in his quest to complete a hat-trick of Golden Boot awards.
And the Englishman has a tendency to end seasons in good form with 20.12% of his 159 Premier League goals coming in the final two months.
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Kane's Premier League Goals By The Months
But there is more to Kane's game this campaign than just scoring goals. Jose Mourinho has given his star man a free role in the hope of adding a new dimension to his game and the manager has been rewarded with a string of superb performances.
Kane wasted little time adapting to his new, deeper role and at this stage of the campaign, he has been directly involved in 29 of the 46 league goals Spurs have scored this season.
That equates to 63% of his team's goals, the highest individual percentage of the major leagues in Europe. Next on that list is Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski with 52.1% of Bayern's 71 goals in the Bundesliga.
Contribution To Team's League Goals 2020/21:
- Harry Kane (Tottenham) 63.0% (29 of 46 goals)
- Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) 52.1% (37 of 71 goals)
- Son Heung-Min (Tottenham) 47.83% (22 of 46 goals)
- Bruno Fernandes (Man United) 47.3% (26 of 55 goals)
- Erling Braut Haaland (Dortmund) 46.0% (23 of 50 goals)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) 45.1% (23 of 51 goals)
- Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt) 44.7% (21 of 47 goals)
- Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 43.9% (25 of 57 goals)
- Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) 42.6% (20 of 47 goals)
- Romelu Lukaku (Inter) 41.3% (26 of 63 goals)
Ranked third on that list is Kane's team-mate Son Heung-Min with a direct contribution to 47.83% of Tottenham's league goals.
The pair are the most productive duo in the top five leagues in Europe in terms of scoring and providing assists for the other, but Tottenham are far from the top of the table that matters.
Spurs go into this weekend’s north London derby with Arsenal seventh in the table five points off the top four, although they do have a game in hand.
Mourinho’s men are 2-0 up on aggregate against Dinamo Zagreb in their battle for a place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, a tournament where success would provide a route to next season’s Champions League. Kane, of course, scored both goals in Thursday’s first-leg.
Failure to win anything this season will add further fuel to the debate as to whether Kane should stay at Spurs or leave to win trophies his career deserves. Whatever happens, Kane will be regarded as a Tottenham legend.
It’s not just at club level that glory continues to elude Kane. Internationally, the closest he has come to picking up a winners' medal was at the World Cup three years ago when his goals helped England finish fourth in Russia.
This summer is another chance for Kane to lift a trophy with the Three Lions when he leads his country in Euro 2020, delayed from last summer because of Covid-19.
With England’s three group games and the semi-finals and final being played at Wembley, this is the country’s best chance of winning a tournament since 1996 when, as the host nation, Terry Venables’ side were beaten by Germany following a penalty shootout at the semi-final stage.
In Kane’s first tournament with England – Euro 2016 – the Spurs man was assigned to take corners which remains one of Roy Hodgson’s most puzzling decisions as a manager.
Harry Kane at Major Tournaments For England:
- 2016 European Championships: 0 goals
- 2018 World Cup: 6 goals (Golden Boot winner)
Hodgson’s replacement Gareth Southgate didn’t make the same mistake and played Kane in his proper position, leading the attack when he took England to Russia in 2018.
Kane’s six goals earned him the Golden Boot award and he is the 5/2 favourite to end Euro 2020 as the tournament’s leading scorer while England lead the market at 5/1 to win the tournament that gets under way on June 11.
This year, however, Southgate may decide to use his skipper in the free role he is used to at Tottenham in order to create chances for others as well as score them.
Kane is a natural goalscorer, scoring all types of goals from tap-ins to headers to long-range efforts.
His range of passing is just as impressive as his assists this season have highlighted, especially for Son Heung-min who has benefitted from nine scoring passes from Kane.
Kane does not have the same kind of telepathic understanding with an England team-mate partly because Southgate has been trying out a number of different combinations up front in the run-up to this summer's tournament.
But if Kane can develop an understanding like the one at club level he has with Son, then the under-achieving country could end 55 years of hurt by being crowned champions of Europe on July 11 for the first time.
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