The Chalkboard: The price of playing Harry Kane too deep

Harry Kane cut a frustrated figure as Tottenham Hotspur fell to a 1-0 defeat against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Monday night. The Spurs No. 10 failed to really impose himself on the game and his positioning all too often removed his team’s key attacking threat.

On the chalkboard

Kane is one of the finest strikers in world football, an out-and-out goalscorer who has notched more than a century of Premier League goals. However, he has recently been deployed in a more withdrawn role, for both club and country, that allows him to be more of a playmaker and orchestrate his team’s attacking play.

The 25-year-old certainly has the capacity to perform this duty to a high level and appears to enjoy it. Yet, it is a waste of his finest talents, as demonstrated on Monday night.

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All too often, Mauricio Pochettino’s side found themselves in strong attacking positions but with their best attacker far behind the ball having been left behind by the game. Few are more devastating in the penalty area than the England captain, yet he was regularly vacant from that zone when Tottenham had opportunities to deliver the ball into the box.

In the likes of Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Christian Eriksen, amongst others, Spurs have creative midfielders. It is time for Pochettino to get Kane back to doing what he does best.

Back in the box

On Monday night, a late chance that ought to have brought about an equaliser for Spurs fell to Erik Lamela. Undoubtedly, the Argentine should have scored. Had the chance come to Kane instead, the ball would almost certainly have wound up in the back of the net. Once again, though, the striker had dropped too deep and was therefore not on hand to provide the crucial final touch.

Pochettino’s experiment with deploying Lucas Moura, Heung-min Son and Lamela as attackers that overlap Kane isn’t working. Fine players as they are, none of the aforementioned trio are anywhere near as prolific as Kane. Nor is Kane the best playmaker in the team, but he is one of the best strikers in the world so get him back in the box.