Harry Kane did not have the greatest of comebacks to competitive action on Friday as the striker was largely anonymous during Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United.
Some rustiness was to be expected from the striker, given the fact that he has not been involved in a Premier League match for the best part of six months.
The Athletic’s Charlie Eccleshare has closely examined the 26-year-old’s performance against the Red Devils and the Spurs star’s individual stats are pretty revealing.
The striker did not manage a single touch in Man Utd’s penalty box despite managing two in Tottenham’s own area.
The England captain touched the ball just 36 times — the fewest of any outfielder who played the full 90 minutes.
The striker, who was isolated up front, won just 26 per cent of his duels and took just one shot in the whole match – a second-half free-kick that was hit straight into the wall.
Despite these damning statistics, Eccleshare also examined Kane’s touch map and pointed out how he played almost as a midfielder rather than as a number nine.
He went deeper and deeper in the second half in order to get on the ball and was left to close down Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire on his own.
Eccleshare notes from Kane’s heatmap, as well as the ground that he covered, that the striker played an extremely unselfish role aimed at stopping United from playing out and offering an outlet, rather than aiming to maximise his own attacking qualities.
He credits the Spurs striker for continuing to battle on for the ninety minutes despite having nothing in the tank towards the end, something that Jose Mourinho has also spoken about following the final whistle (Sky Sports).
Spurs Web Opinion
This is a very insightful piece by Eccleshare as he rightly points out how Kane’s selfless work off the ball was crucial in helping us play the way we did. It was also quite noticeable that the 26-year-old preferred to play quick passes rather than hanging on to the ball every time Tottenham won it back. It seemed like a tactic to ensure we counter-attacked swiftly by maximising Son and Bergwijn’s pace.
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