LONDON (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur spent the cash earned from Gareth Bale’s sale on a plethora of internationals but the key to the remarkable 5-3 win over Chelsea on Thursday, and their best player this season, had been there all along.
While Andre Villas-Boas and his successors as manager Tim Sherwood and Mauricio Pochettino juggled their multi-national cast to little effect after Bale’s 85 million pounds ($132.12 million) move to Real Madrid in 2013, homegrown striker Harry Kane was quietly going about his business, hoping for a break.
Even when Kane started banging in the goals in the Europa League and Capital One Cup, Pochettino seemed reluctant to give the 21-year-old a consistent run in the Premier League.
Eventually his goals, overall play and the demanding Spurs fans made an irresistible case and since becoming a regular in November he has not looked back.
On Thursday, Kane delivered a five-star display, scoring two excellent goals against the league leaders, taking his tally to 17 in all competitions this season, and setting up two more as fifth-placed Spurs chalked up one of their best victories for years.
The performance was all the better for coming against the league’s most established and consistent centre back pairing of John Terry and Gary Cahill, with the latter in particular struggling to deal with Kane’s pace, power, touch and awareness.
A regular for England at every age level, a first full cap looks a certainty.
“I am just enjoying playing. Hopefully I can keep it up but the most important thing is the team winning,” said Kane who spent the first half of the 2012-13 season on loan at Norwich City.
“We have taken to the way the manager wants us to play and it’s working. It means we go into the New Year buzzing. To score five against one of the best defences in the world shows how we’re coming together.”
Pochettino was full of praise for Kane but reminded everyone the forward was still learning the game.
“We need to be careful with him. He’s still young but has presence now,” the Argentine told reporters.
“In the last few months he’s had the chance to play more and start to show his quality and we are really happy for that. It’s impossible to hide him because of his performance.”