Winners and Losers: Kane leads the way as Tottenham see sense

It’s only taken 20 goals by February for Tottenham Hotspur to realise Harry Kane is the man around whom to centre their attack. The 21-year-old on Monday signed a new five-and-a-half year contract, 48 hours after scoring twice as Spurs downed West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, Kane confirming he should be Tottenham’s lead striker for the short and long-term.

It’s not fair to suggest Kane was an outcast at White Hart Lane prior to his run of goals this season – he was, after all, signed to a new contract as recently as August, suggesting that the Tottenham staff were aware of his potential. That potential is being realised earlier than anyone could have predicted and even Coach Mauricio Pochettino has been won over, having previously restricted Kane to the Europa League.

Kane didn’t make a Premier League start until November 9, against Stoke City. By that time he already had 10 goals in all competitions – mostly in Europe, a handful in the Capital One Cup and one in the league, a last-minute free-kick winner against Aston Villa. He didn’t score in the 2-1 defeat to the Potters but did net against Hull City and, having found his top-flight feet, has barely stopped scoring since. The brace at Albion delivered his ninth and 10th league goals as well as 40 EuroFantasyLeague points.

The talk now is of an England call-up and Kane is as deserving of recognition as anyone. Daniel Sturridge’s return goal would have pleased Roy Hodgson and Andy Carroll has been as revitalised as the whole of West Ham, but Kane has been doing it throughout the season. He has four times as many goals as Carroll and isn’t a lingering fitness concern, unlike the Liverpool forward.

Instead, Kane is fit and prolific. He has the best years of his career way ahead of him, and they’ll be spent at Spurs, by virtue of his lengthy new deal. Kane has a supply line – Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli – on which he can rely and a manager who seems to trust him, even if it was a struggle to earn the faith Pochettino when he first arrived from Southampton.

More than goals, Kane gives Tottenham an identity. He’s not a roaming gun-for-hire like Emmanuel Adebayor, or a big-money foreign import struggling to settle in like Roberto Soldado. He may still be young but Kane can be a totemic figure around which Spurs fans can rally, along with midfielder Ryan Mason, another home-grown talent clearly in Pochettino’s thoughts.

There are two main challenges that now await Kane – scoring goals season after season and leading the line for England. But back in the autumn, when it seemed no matter how many goals he plundered in Europe, he’d never dislodge Adebayor, the 20-goal mark and a bumper contract were a long way away. But that’s where Kane stands now, signed up until 2020, Spurs showing the vision to get behind one of their own.

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