Harry Kane picks his moments.
This is a striker who is so regularly at the forefront of everything Tottenham Hotspur do well. He scored the winner against Southampton at the weekend and has generally been a shining light in what has already been a poor season for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
But on Tuesday night, he turned in one of his very worst displays in a white shirt.
Now, he wasn’t alone. Spurs lost 7-2 to a rampant Bayern Munich side in a scoreline that closely resembles what someone might see on FIFA 20, instead of in the Champions League, but Kane’s struggles were emblematic of the club’s woes.
Indeed, prior to the game, Bayern’s manager, Niko Kovac, had warned his players of the threat the England captain posed. He said that he, along with Robert Lewandowski, was one of the world’s best strikers.
You wouldn’t have known.
Kane did score from the penalty spot after Danny Rose was felled in the box but that’s about it.
Per WhoScored, he touched the ball 21 times, fewer than any other player to start the game. He did crack off four shots but just two were on target and one of those was from 12 yards.
He did not win an aerial duel, nor did he make a tackle. This is surprising for a player who so usually sets the tone for Spurs, leading from the front and charging down loose balls and hassling defenders.
And compared with Lewandowski – valued at £58.5m by Transfermarkt – the statistics are all the starker.
The Poland international had 39 touches of the ball and scored twice, one a genuinely brilliant finish on the turn from the edge of the box on the stroke of half-time.
He completed two dribbles and won four aerial duels throughout the game.
Spurs’ defence throughout the game was an abomination but Lewandowski was a key component in unsettling the backline.
Whenever the ball came to him, he was a danger, and Spurs couldn’t cope with him.
Of course, the Champions League is a competition of margins, and fine ones at that. Where Lewandowski scored two of his six shots, Kane scored one of his four.
It is all the more frustrating for Spurs fans when one considers the stats.
Lewandowski has scored 39 goals in the Champions League for Bayern in 54 outings. That’s a rate of a goal every 0.72 games, or more than one every other. Kane has 16 goals in 21 for Spurs at a rate of a goal every 0.76 games.
He can do it. He can drag this team up by its bootstraps and take them to the next level and inspire glory glory nights.
On Tuesday, though, he was absent. The fire, the ferocity of his finishes, simply wasn’t there. He allowed himself to be outshined.
As a result, Spurs were beaten, cowed and humiliated. Just when they needed him, Kane had an off night.