Former Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood has revealed that many people at Spurs did not think Harry Kane was good enough for the Premier League and wanted to offload him.
Not many Spurs fans would have expected anyone to ever catch up to Jimmy Greaves’ record tally of 266 goals, let alone a player who came through the club’s academy.
However, that is exactly what Kane has done, having consistently proven doubters wrong at every stage of his career.
The 29-year-old’s story might have been very different if Sherwood had not given him opportunities at Spurs despite the striker’s struggles during his various loan spells as a youngster.
The former Tottenham interim boss has now written in The Daily Mail: “Every kid at every club needs someone to back him and I take huge pride in seeing Harry Kane equal Jimmy Greaves’ record for Tottenham, having given him his opportunity all those years ago.
“You get these trophy managers going into clubs with their heads on the block and the perception is kids will let you down. I’ve always maintained that is a misconception.
“A £ 100 million signing will let you down, too. If the kid is doing the right things in training, back him. That’s what happened with Harry.
“He was outperforming Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor. He deserved the opportunity and after making his first Premier League start in April 2014 – a 5-1 win over Sunderland in which he scored – he never looked back.”
Sherwood emphasised Kane’s determination to work hard and constantly improve, revealing that Christian Eriksen set an example for the striker to follow when he broke into the first team.
He continued: “I hate ‘natural talent’. There’s no such thing as a ‘natural’ footballer. It takes hard work, and no one typifies that more than this boy. Harry worked hard. He still works hard. Having Christian Eriksen as a teammate helped in those early days.
“Christian showed Harry how to get the best out of what you’ve got and the way to improve. There’s never been a ceiling with Harry. Never a time where he’s thought: ‘I’ve cracked it.’
“I always said Harry’s biggest attribute is between his ears. I would take his drive and determination over ability all day long. When you can marry up the two, like he has done, then you’ve got a serious footballer.
“Every manager that took Harry on loan said he wouldn’t make it. There wasn’t one who said he would. If they tell you different, they’re lying. I’m not knocking that. It was their opinion at the time.”
Sherwood also recalled that everyone at Tottenham, including then sporting director, Franco Baldini, were of the opinion that Kane was not of the required level.
He said: “When Harry came back to Tottenham after a series of loans, I advised him not to accept any more offers and to stick around and fight for his place.
“The manager previous to me, Andre Villas-Boas, had no intention of putting him in. Franco Baldini was the sporting director and he wrote off Harry, saying he wasn’t good enough for the Premier League. Tottenham wanted me to get rid of him.
“There were clubs who wanted Harry. But I wouldn’t do that. I wasn’t listening. I was saying: ‘The boy is good enough.’ I was told I was ‘biased’ towards the younger players. I wasn’t. I just wanted to win and Harry was best equipped to do that for me.
“He started the last six games of the 2013-14 Premier League season. The fans were tough with him at first. If he hadn’t scored, they’d be singing for Soldado. Now they sing about him being one of their own. It isn’t easy for homegrown boys. You have to fight hard to be accepted.”
Spurs Web Opinion
If they are honest, most Spurs fans who watched Kane play around 2014 would admit that the striker looked a long way off the required level, both physically and technically. The 29-year-old’s rise is perhaps a lesson not to write young players off as different players have different growth trajectories.
Have something to tell us about this article?