It was only last month that Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson claimed that the writing was on the wall for Tottenham star Harry Kane.
Speaking after the Lilywhites’ 1-1 draw with Manchester United in their first game after the Premier League’s return, Merson insisted: “When Jose took the job I worried for Harry Kane. He played under Mauricio Pochettino and they had a go wherever they went. There were goals, crosses and shots. He’s going to be playing up front on his own and it’s going to be hard work.
“I think he’ll have a serious think at the end of the season, I don’t see him getting 25 or 30 goals next season the way Jose will want to play. He won’t want to play like he did when he first got in there, where it was 4-2s and 5-3s, no way. He’ll like games like 1-1.”
But after notching a stunning brace against Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, Kane has now scored 13 goals in 18 games under Mourinho’s leadership – that’s a rate of 0.72 goals per game. Compare that to his slightly worse record of 0.69 goals per game under Pochettino (169 total goals in 242 games).
It certainly fits the whole narrative of Mourinho being a defensive specialist to suggest Kane will struggle in one of the Portuguese man’s teams. But instead, the England international, even despite suffering a serious hamstring injury earlier this year, has proven he can score goals at an incredible rate under different types of managers and systems.
And against Leicester on Sunday, he was at his absolute best. First, he made the lung-busting run to help Heung-min Son find the back of the net via a deflected strike; then he looked as clinical as ever with a left-footed strike; and then, he rounded off the perfect first-half performance with a vintage curling effort into the top corner.
It was no surprise that Mourinho reserved huge praise for his star man after the game. He said: “Everybody thinks – I think, you think – he’s a fantastic player, and Tottenham is so lucky to have him because he is the player and the person and the Tottenham boy. He’s really special for us and we want him to be happy. He wants victories and he wants to score goals.”
After claims that he wouldn’t able to achieve great success under Mourinho, Kane has proven that he absolutely can, and has made a mockery of what Merson said.