SN Blog 24 – Kane a blessing & a curse

I start this blog post with an odd statement which I hope to explain and maybe make a point that I think is important for all fans of our great club.  So, the odd statement:

“Harry Kane is both the best and the worst thing to ever happen for academy players at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.”

Young Kane

I realise that seems a very contradictory and odd statement however lets think about about what the emergence of a talent like Kane does for young players currently in the academy system at Spurs.  Every young player at the club has seen someone come from where they are at and be now a true global superstar.  That can reinforce your belief in the club, the coaching team – assure you that you are in the right place etc and give you confidence.

From a club point of view it is also helping in a big way when it comes to youth recruitment.  Everyone knows we as a club do not pay big wages, or even medium wages and so if you are looking at pound signs for your kid you will take them to Chelsea or Manchester City.  Of course you can also be looking to earn yourself through payments made to you and therefore you go to Liverpool.  (Did I say that out loud? .. oh wait, Liverpool are currently banned from recruiting youth players because of it, amazing not more fuss was made eh!?).

So without doubt, looking at what Spurs have done with their academy and looking at the man in charge it is obvious that if you want to have a real shot at playing first team football for a Premier League team and if you are willing to work hard to achieve that then Harry Kane is all the proof you need Tottenham is the club.


Of course, Mr Kane is not alone in making it through our academy and becoming an establish Premier League football player – he is just the best example due to his status in the world game currently.  You have players such as Mason (now retired sadly), Townsend, Bentaleb & Livermore who have all gone on to be top flight footballers to name but a few.

Harry Winks of course is now an established member of the first team squad with Josh Onomah, Cameron Carter-Vickers and others out on loan who all could well still have a future at Spurs.

Now, the flip side and this is why I said what I said.  Why is Harry Kane’s emergence a bad thing?  One word; expectation.  Fans now think that our academy is a magic lamp that Pochettino can rub at any point and out pops a world class player.  I am sorry to say, that is simply not the case.  For every Harry Kane there is a Lee Barnard.

Who is Lee Barnard you ask?  Well Lee was a forward in our academy.  He was big, strong and a powerful striker who scored for fun in our reserves.  Every age group he looked a man against boys, he was outstanding and was a player I was convinced was going to go and be this countries next Alan Shearer.

Lee never really made it, in fact the last I heard of him he was being released by Crawley Town.  No this is not a dig at him in anyway at all and I am sorry to use him as an example, from watchng the academy games in person I have been lucky enough to meet many of our youngsters and Lee was always humble despite being the man main and it was that attitude that I thought was going to be the reason he was destined for greatness.

If Lee had been in the academy when Poch joined could it be him leaving the Harry Kane life now… quite possibly… so much goes into academy players making it and luck / timing is a massive part in it.

Had Soldado scored 25+ in his first season do you think Kane would have gotten a game? … more than likely Harry would be playing up front for Millwall right now.


In our academy right now (currently on loan at Norwich) is a player that sadly people have over hyped.  Marcus Edwards is one of the most naturally gifted youngsters I have ever watched at youth level.  His close control of the ball is to behold and despite his size he is more than capable of holding his own.

It was clear how highly Pochettino and others held the lad when Poch told the press he was his “mini Messi” however soon Poch would regret those remarks.  Every person is different, every person is motivated in different ways – sadly for someone being called Mini Messi can mean you feel you have made it and you no longer need to work.

Any great player will tell you when you “make it” is when the real work begins.  Edwards picked up small injuries at the worst time in the season where I feel he could have gotten minutes in games across various competitions – bad luck – bad timing.

He is now on loan, is yet to play but hopefully soon he will get the chance in the Championship to show what he can do.  I truly believe having watched him this season captain our academy team on several occasions you can see he is taking more responsibility on the pitch – he is getting it – now he just needs to show it each week at first team level.

However we as fans need to realise Harry Kane is once in a lifetime – he is not what every kid in our academy will become.  Edwards is an example of where expectation and pressure has slowed a players natural progression.  Pochettino has admitted he made an error here and will learn from it, now we as fans need to learn also.


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