Manchester United and England legend, Wayne Rooney, has waxed lyrical about Harry Kane by insisting that he is a classic number 9 and the closest thing the Premier League has seen to Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Kane’s goalscoring record since breaking into the Tottenham side speaks for itself. The Spurs academy graduate has netted 181 goals in 278 games for the Lilywhites, as well as 32 goals in 45 games for England (Wikipedia).
While the Spurs star is often praised for his goal-scoring exploits, some would argue that he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his all-round play.
His passing, hold-up play, and technique are improving by the season and Rooney is certainly aware of how dangerous the 26-year-old can be when he drops deep.
However, the former England star insisted that, if he was managing Kane, he would ask him to stay as close to the goal as possible rather than playing a false nine role.
In his column for the Sunday Times, Rooney wrote: “I’m going to be honest, and this might surprise you, but I’m not a natural goalscorer. I was never a Gary Lineker or a Ruud van Nistelrooy; I never looked at myself that way.
“I hold the goal records for Manchester United and England and am very proud about that – yet there have been better No.9s than me.
“Harry is a classic No.9, the closest I’ve seen to Ruud. If I were building a team, he’s the one I’d start with. Harry Kane: there’s my No.9, then I’d build the rest around him.
“In the last two seasons we’ve seen him drop deeper more and play balls in behind and he’s very good at it, as we saw when England beat Spain in Seville.
“But if I were managing Harry, I’d be telling him to stay high as that No.9. His biggest strength is finishing and he strikes the ball so well that from 20 yards or closer he should be looking to hit it whenever possible.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I can certainly see where Rooney is coming from as Kane’s finishing is ridiculously good. So you would want to give him the best chance of scoring by sticking him up top. However, I also believe that both Spurs and England would be under-utilising Kane if they just ask him to stay up front as a target man.
Dropping between the lines and picking runners out is one of the 26-year-old’s best assets and opposition teams have trouble dealing with it, especially if he has pacey players around him. Additionally, I don’t think that affects Kane’s ability to score goals as he is still intelligent enough to arrive inside the box at the right moment to get on the end of chances.
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