Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn admitted in a conversation with former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp that those at Leyton Orient thought Andros Townsend was more talented than Harry Kane when the pair joined the club on loan in 2011.
Townsend and Kane rose through the youth ranks at the Spurs academy together and it was Redknapp who handed both players their senior debuts for Spurs.
However, it was the winger who was the first one to establish himself in the first-team after impressing during the various spells he had out on loan.
Townsend became a key player for Spurs at the start of the 2013-14 season and his form saw him also being capped for England.
However, things went downhill for the Crystal Palace star after Mauricio Pochettino took over as the Argentine decided to move him on after some disciplinary issues involving a fitness coach.
Kane, on the other hand, blossomed under Pochettino and has gone from strength to strength since becoming a regular in the side in 2014.
While the England captain spent the 2010-11 season on loan at Orient, Townsend was with the O’s in the second half of the 2009-10 season.
Hearn admitted that those at the League One club did not think too highly of Kane at the time.
He said on Harry Redknapp’s Podcast: “The mad thing was the best of those players at Orient was probably, Andros. And Harry Kane, who is a lovely, lovely young man.
“We were watching Harry thinking, it shows what we know about football, we were going ‘he’s decent but let’s be honest, he’s never going to make it at the top level’.
“The improvements that he made was unbelievable. I suppose it was a bit like Frank Lampard, no-one, other than you (Redknapp) thought that he would go on and do what he did in the game.
“But it was always Andros Townsend who had the speed, and at the level, in division one football. Townsend was a nightmare for anyone because he would get it and run at defenders.
“Harry Kane was a little bit slow. We felt that he was going to end up at Leyton, or those levels.”
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It was not just Hearn and the coaches at Orient who doubted Kane’s ability but also the majority of Spurs fans. Until 2015, it is fair to say that not too many Tottenham fans thought Kane possessed the talent to make it at the top level.
In fact, the likes of Townsend, Tom Carroll, Alex Pritchard and Steven Caulker were also considered brighter talents that Kane while coming through the ranks at Spurs. However, Kane has just continued to get better and better every season and it is that drive to keep improving that has made him arguably the best striker in world football.
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