Unquestionably Tottenham Hotspur would be all the poorer without Harry Kane.
The north London side would have been deprived of 131 artfully slotted Premier League goals, while on the international stage England would have missed out on a formidably prolific striker destined to become his country’s record goal-scorer.
The extent of Kane’s importance to both club and country evokes some pertinent questions: would Spurs have established themselves as a top four side in the Pochettino era without their leading light? As for the Three Lions, would a World Cup semi-final have been reached minus Kane’s Golden Boot-winning six goals?
The answer to both lies somewhere in the region of ‘probably not’.
But even when fully acknowledging the forward’s incredible impact in recent times nothing can be stated with absolute certainty, except for one thing: if Harry Kane did not exist Tammy Abraham would be England’s number nine right now and Gareth Southgate’s chief front man. And we would all be very excited about that.
How could that not be the case considering the 22-year-old’s ascendancy, one that has been accompanied every step of the way with an abundance of goals. After finding the net with alarming regularity through Chelsea’s youth ranks Abraham was sent on a season-long loan to Bristol City as a teenager and notched 23 times.
His reputation sky-high a second temporary stint duly followed, this time to Premier League Swansea only here he relatively struggled, with the jump in class coming perhaps too soon for the developing hit-man.
So it was back to the Championship to Aston Villa where the goals rained in once again, on this occasion a quarter of a century of them in the league alone.
This season a second bite at the top flight cherry with his parent club Chelsea has put Abraham in firm contention to win this year’s Golden Boot with his ten goals in 12 games consigning established internationals Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi to the margins.
It’s a ratio that equates to a goal every 90 minutes. Last week the Camberwell-born star scored his first for his country – a year before Kane did likewise – and all told Abraham’s potency and movement have greatly impressed one and all.
He is the real deal. He is the next big thing. He is – though this should maybe be whispered at this early juncture – England’s rightful successor to Lineker, Shearer and Owen.
There is a problem here though isn’t there, or from England’s perspective at least it’s a highly welcomed dilemma in need of solving. It is a problem/dilemma who is 6 ft 2, captains his nation and scores a ferocious amount of goals on a consistent basis. A player who is already those trio’s successor.
Harry Kane is undroppable. He is a ruthless talisman around whom the rest of the team orbit. So how on earth does Gareth Southgate accommodate an emerging goal-scoring sensation who is primed and ready to make his own path alongside some enormous footprints; a player who, let’s not dismiss, would be a huge threat on the pitch for England at the Euros next summer.
Having Abraham as a back-up is a waste. For one thing we have little idea how impactful he is as a substitute. For another he has outperformed Kane in the goal-scoring department so far this term.
Perhaps then the solution lies in playing them both, though that would require a dramatic tactical rethink from the England boss.
Sticking the youngster out wide to facilitate his current preferred 4-3-3 would inevitably lead to a compromised shoehorning as witnessed with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal. It would mean then a reversion to the three at the back as witnessed at the World Cup, with Alexander-Arnold and Chilwell pushed up as wing-backs and Kane and Abraham running amok up front.
Will Southgate go for this? It is doubtful given it’s a formation he has clearly moved on from but one thing is for sure: with Kane guaranteed to start and Abraham forcing his manager’s hand to play him, don’t be surprised if it’s not at least trailed in the months ahead.