If Harry Kane’s Hurrikane were powered by the ridiculous hype he receives in the media, the Tottenham striker’s swirling winds would have decimated the whole of London by now – and probably bordering parts of Kent.
That’s no disrespect to the 21 year-old, who fully deserves the PFA Young Player of the Year award for emerging from the peripheries of the Lilywhites squad to finish the season as the Premier League’s top scoring Englishman – not to mention netting just seconds into his England debut against Lithuania.
But comparisons with German World Cup winner Thomas Muller? An apparent crossbreed of the Premier League’s all-time top scorer Alan Shearer and the thinking man’s preferred England centre-forward Teddy Sheringham? A £40million target for Manchester United? The Hurrikane is spinning out of control.
You have to wonder whether the whimsical nature of Kane’s sudden rise to the top – the accompanying soundtrack of ‘He’s one of our own’ chants, the intoxicating fairytale of local boy comes good in Roy of the Rovers style, mythological fables of him being born with the Spurs badge birthmarked on his buttocks and raised by a gang of feral cockerels on the mean streets of Chingford – have sensationalised opinions on the young striker.
The meme-a-minute world of social media and the realm of Premier League punditry appear to have overlapped, a disturbance in the footy-opinion-continuum making Kane the heir apparent to Shearer, Wayne Rooney and possibly even Bobby Charlton.
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Of course, there are some logic to the comparisons. Like Muller, Kane’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious, whilst he echoes the Bayern Munich forward’s manner of finding the net in simple-yet-clinical style. Like Sheringham, he’s a shrewd link-up player, crafty and technical with his back to goal and like Shearer, he’s imperious in the air with an obvious passion for his local club.
Overall, the Three Lions starlet is already a very well-rounded centre-forward; but after just two caps and single season in Tottenham’s first team, he’s still yet to prove himself truly worthy of association with some of England’s all time greats.
One-season wonders are hardly unheard of in the Premier League. In fact, they’re pretty common. Marcus Stewart was the Premier League’s second-top scorer during the 2000/01 campaign with 19 goals but bagged just seven more in his next 47 top flight appearances, succumbing both Ipswich and Sunderland to relegation.
Likewise, Michu, once an apparent target of Arsenal and Manchester United after netting 18 times during his debut Premier League campaign, has managed just two goals and 20 league appearances since. After spending the season rotting in Napoli’s reserves – representing them in Serie A only thrice – Swansea now face the improbable task of getting the Spaniard off their wage bill this summer.
Michael Ricketts, Roque Santa Cruz, Michael Bridges, Mikael Forssell, Benjani and Tottenham’s very own Mido all accompany Michu and Stewart in the Premier League’s one-season wonder Hall of Fame. As big a chance Kane has of producing another twenty-goal season during the 2015/16 campaign, at this point he’s equally likely to become the Hall of Fame’s next inductee. Lets not forget, two seasons ago he was struggling to score in the Championship for Millwall and Leicester City.
Indeed, the continuous hype says far more about the footballing world surrounding Kane than the striker himself; the media’s lust for hyperbole and sensational price-tags; the manner in which every home-grown player now costs three or four times as much as their foreign counterparts; the lack of hope invested in the current national team, to such an extent any young, promising player is billed as the next Three Lions legend.
To give credit where it’s due, the 21 year-old seems to have taken it all in his stride, batting away rumours of a summer move to Old Trafford, netting against Lithuania with emphatic ease, yet to involve himself in the fag-puffing, hippy-crack-toking world of some of his England team-mates.
But if there’s one thing young players don’t need, it’s added pressure.The lingering concern of Kane not fulfilling his ultimate potential simply because everybody keeps talking about it so much verges upon Shakespearean irony.