Ex-Spurs academy chief reveals what he honestly thought of Kane as a youngster

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Harry Kane
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Image

Richard Allen, who was formerly the head of recruitment for the Spurs academy, has admitted that Harry Kane was a long way behind his peers physically as a youngster and that no one saw the striker reaching the level he has.

Kane is now widely recognised as one of the best strikers in world football and the striker is on course to arguably become the best striker in the Premier League’s history as well as in the history of the England national team.

However, the Tottenham man was anything but a golden boy while coming through the ranks at the North London club and had to make it the hard way, being loaned out to the lower leagues on multiple occasions.

Allen has now revealed that no one at Spurs thought that Kane was capable of reaching the heights he has in the game.

The former Spurs head of recruitment told The Athletic: “I can safely say — and lots of people claim they did know it — if you speak to people honestly at Tottenham, nobody ever saw or ever thought Harry Kane would become this world superstar.”

Kane was released from Arsenal’s academy as a youngster before Tottenham picked him up, and Allen believes the Gunners did so because of the striker’s physical limitations.

He added: “I can see why Arsenal might have released him. He was very under-maturated. He was smaller — and physically miles off it — compared to his peers. He was slower, less agile, and couldn’t jump as high. He was probably two years behind them in maturation.

“But his ball-striking was excellent, he could hit a ball, he could score a goal. He couldn’t move as well as the others, but he could strike a ball. He wanted to practice, he wanted to learn. He had a really strong mentality, really keen. He listened. He was a good kid.

“Lots of people say, ‘oh I knew about Harry Kane, I watched him back then’, that’s absolute rubbish. Nobody knew. Right up until that time when Tim put him in in the Europa League and he started scoring goals.”

Chris Ramsey, who was the Head of Player Development at the Tottenham academy at the time, shed light on how the coaches at the club decided to focus on Kane’s strengths rather than dwell on his weaknesses.

Ramsey said: “We put a development programme together that basically focused on the strengths of a player rather than what they couldn’t do. We only focus on the weaknesses if it affects your job.

“So, if you look at someone like Harry Kane, people used to say he couldn’t run, couldn’t do this, that or the other. We didn’t focus on that until it would really affect his job. If you looked at him, you’d see how technically good he was.”

Spurs Web Opinion

When I first saw Kane play for the first team under Harry Redknapp and Andre-Villas Boas, I thought he was rubbish and never going to make it at the top level.

It was only during Sherwood’s time at the club (in the latter part of the 2013-14 season) that the striker started to show his knack for getting goals and his technical quality.

Kane’s rise is primarily down to his drive and dedication to keep working hard on his game, which is why the 29-year-old continues to still get better every season.

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