Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane had a night to forget as England were held by Hungary in their World Cup qualifying clash at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Although it’s been a similar story for the Lilywhites talisman so far in 2021/22 after a summer of speculation linking him with a move away from north London, the 28-year-old is yet to find the net in the Premier League.
A big surprise from a player that has bagged at least 24 times in every season since the start of 2014/15. An even bigger surprise considering just how much Spurs have relied on him in recent years – he scored or assisted 54.4% of their league goals last term, for example.
And his latest outing will be another big cause for concern for Nuno Santo and his coaching staff.
They may well have gone into the break on the back of a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa but it was the first time they had scored more than once in any top-flight game, whilst it ended a run of three straight heavy defeats.
Now they face Newcastle United, who as a whole club will be buoyed by their recent Saudi-backed takeover.
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright agreed whilst on punditry duties for ITV.
“At the moment he’s not playing well. He doesn’t look sharp. He’s playing in a way which has not become of Harry Kane,” he said.
“He’s an elite striker and when he’s playing like this you are going to answer questions. But he doesn’t seem sharp – these instances where he should be staying onside, to get the opportunity, but he’s going deep and at the moment he doesn’t seem at the right place.”
Indeed, Kane struggled to have much of an impact on Hungary, who are no great shakes in fourth place in the group.
It’s a worrying sign that someone of Kane’s quality couldn’t have much of an influence against a side that he should be having a field day against.
Furthermore, no outfield England star, who played from the off, managed fewer passes (12) either, whilst the 6 foot 2 frontman struggled to combat the physicality of the Hungary backline, winning just 20% of his five duels.
So without a goal in the Premier League this term and his disappointing form continuing on the international stage, Nuno may well be worried heading into this Sunday’s clash at St James’ Park.
Another defeat in the top-flight could put the Portuguese back under pressure and he needs his leading striker firing on all cylinders.
Based on Tuesday’s outing, that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.