By Ledley King writing in The Athletic today.
About 10 years ago, when I was coming to the end of my playing career, the name Harry Kane was always being brought up. When you’re an older player you’re aware of the young talent coming through, and you were the one scoring goals at youth level and being noticed.
I got to see a bit of you around the club and it was clear you were a natural-born goalscorer. You always had that knack but were also a bit like Teddy Sheringham because it wasn’t so much your pace as your touch and awareness, and the ability to drop deep, which we see now. I would have liked to have seen more of you, but the problem I had was that because of injury I couldn’t train towards the end of my career!
You were a quiet lad but you had a focus about you. You were so driven from a very young age so it’s no surprise how far you’ve gone.
When I came back to work with the academy a few years later, you were starting to break into the first team. You had some loans, and they can be quite difficult for young players, but it was clear you’d come back determined to succeed and get better.
Since then you’ve become a hero at Tottenham.
And what’s great is you’ve come through the youth team, you’ve been with the club from a very young age, and that’s so important. Players like you really understand what it means to the fans, and the fans can really relate to you. After I retired there was a spell where I felt like we struggled for a bit; I felt like we lost that connection with the team and the fans in terms of homegrown players coming through.
But then we saw you and Harry Winks come through, and Ryan Mason, and others. And you seemed to really lift the fans, and it’s always great when fans get behind the homegrown talent.
And it’s even better when you have a homegrown player who goes on to be as good as you.
Of course the fans root for everyone, but there’s always something special about a young lad who’s worked his way up from the academy. You can see what it means to them when they finally get an opportunity to get out there onto the pitch, and the fans could see that in you. Someone who was running his socks off, chasing down everything, and that was before all the goals started to come. First and foremost you could see how much it meant for you to be out there.
And then to go on and become the player you have is just great for everyone involved at the club.
Seeing you on Wednesday, I felt so proud. My only surprise was you didn’t score the penalty! But I know how much you work and dedicate yourself to be almost perfect. You’re striving for perfection.
And now for you to be in the position to be the first captain since the great Bobby Moore to lift a major trophy for England is really amazing, even more so when we can say that you’re one of our own. It’s just such a shame that there aren’t any more Spurs players in the squad to share that experience with you because over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of the players playing their part in the squad, and it would have been even more special if you’d been able to share it with a few of the other guys at the club.
But what an inspiration this will be to young players coming through at Spurs. I’ve always said to any academy prospect, you don’t have to look very far to find inspiration and what it takes to achieve your dreams because Harry’s someone who’s been there just as you are now. And that he’s a great role model for any young player or any young person in the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, and dedicates himself to football.
When I was coaching you last season and seeing you up close, I could really see how much football means to you, how dedicated you are to your craft and being the best player you can be.
And so to tonight. It will be emotional, and like millions of others, I’ll be pretty nervous. But one thing’s for sure, when the ball drops or there’s a chance, there’s no one better than you to be in that position. Knowing that gives me a certain amount of comfort, and I’m sure the rest of the country feels that way.
You thoroughly deserve to be in this position, with the chance to lift that trophy this evening. The best No 9 in the world and England captain — these things don’t happen by accident; they’re because you dedicated yourself to being the best. I’ve got nothing but admiration for you.
You’re a class, class act and we’re all really proud to have you as one of our own.
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Come on England, give us a goal!