Hugo Lloris will lead Tottenham Hotspur out for the Champions League final on Saturday with the captain’s armband wrapped around his bicep.
The France international did similar in Russia last summer, leading Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe et al into battle against Croatia in the World Cup final. France won 4-2.
Even so, this weekend must be the last time that Lloris wears that armband, the last time that he leads Spurs into any type of game that isn’t a friendly.
Now, before every reader cries ‘strikers can’t be captains’, first of all, they absolutely can. The greatest goalscorer in Premier League history, Alan Shearer, was Newcastle skipper. So let’s nip that one in the bud straight away.
Furthermore, even while he has been absent with injury, Kane has been integral in Spurs’ run to the final.
Kieran Trippier claimed after the miraculous comeback against Ajax in Amsterdam that it was Kane’s words that inspired the turnaround.
He said, per Sky Sports: “I don’t know the timescale with his injury but obviously we’re all hoping he can be back because of his presence, even here at half-time, he’s coming in going mental at us because we can do better which we all knew.
“But this is what we need, the leadership that he has, the way he came in at half-time. He wasn’t happy and we all knew that.
“He just gives us that extra lift because his presence is massive for us.”
That is what a captain does. Lloris, by all accounts, did have an impact on the team-talk too – Pochettino claimed he said the final words before they returned to the pitch – but Trippier’s claim that Kane’s mere presence is enough to inspire Spurs is evidence enough that it should be the striker wearing the armband.
He already does it for England and played a key role in helping the Three Lions to their first World Cup semi-final in a generation.
Kane is also the model professional while Lloris is not. That is to put it mildly, really; the goalkeeper was found guilty of drink driving in September, having been found to be two times over the legal limit. Vomit was found in his car when he was stopped by police and he was deemed “lucky” not to have hit a pedestrian or another vehicle.
The worst thing Kane has done is to claim a goal that may not have touched him.
That is not to be flippant about it, either; Kane is genuinely the model professional, he eats, sleeps and breathes football and he has never once been found on the front page of a tabloid newspaper for his extra-curricular activities. Lloris has and that, really, should be enough.
Pochettino, clearly, is loyal to his stopper, who has been almost ever-present since signing for the club in 2012 but there is the perfect opportunity here to make a clean break this summer, particularly after the catalogue of mistakes Lloris has made this season – including against PSV Eindhoven, when he was sent off in the group stages, against Liverpool in the Premier League, which led to an own goal being scored and two points being dropped, and against Chelsea, as Kieran Trippier inadvertently scored an own goal.
Lloris could well help Spurs win the Champions League on Saturday. He could lift the trophy and that would be the perfect swansong, with him also earning redemption for his previous errors.
For now is the time for Kane to be anointed. He is already captain, really, at least in terms of his psychological impact on the team. Trippier’s words tell us all that.
All he needs now is the official post; it cannot come soon enough and, really, it should have happened already.