Tottenham came from 2-0 down to secure a great draw in Turin against Juventus on Tuesday night, giving the North London club a crucial brace of away goals going into the second leg at Wembley.
Harry Kane’s presence on the Turin scoresheet came as no surprise, taking his Champions League total to seven. The golden boot is now firmly within the Londoner’s sights; Kane sits joint second in the scoring charts, having played a game less than several of his rivals on the leaderboard. Kane’s season tally is now up to 35 goals, from a mere 36 matches – a rate not domestically seen since Andy Cole and Alan Shearer contended for titles in the early 1990s. That number is sure to increase further as a golden season continues.
If Kane’s current strike rate was to remain consistent until the end of the season, he would breach the half-century mark, and join Jimmy McGrory and Dixie Dean in the illustrious ranks of British players to hit fifty goals in all competitions. So too would he be on top form ahead of World Cup 2018, shortening England’s odds of glory. On two occasions now, against Juventus and Real Madrid, Kane has risen to the challenge of taking on Europe’s top defenders, proving to be unplayable when on form.
If anyone is going to score a Tottenham winner in the Champions League final, it is him. However, he is nothing without his teammates. Some would assert that Kane is the best striker in the world right now, although the lack of any Tottenham silverware since 2008 would, perhaps, negate that belief on a wider scale. With the supply of Alli and Eriksen behind him, Tottenham have enough fire power to battle on two fronts. Those seeking reasons to back Tottenham for European glory can begin by drawing comparisons to another team, which started as a vibrant young squad that grew as brothers.
In the space of less than ten years, Manchester United went from being a sleeping giant to one that was very much awake, uprooting trees and crushing all in its wake. European glory, in 1999, was a long time coming. There had been frustrations, shock exits and an array of doubters. Regardless, the ‘Class of 92’ had grown as a family, and it was that unbreakable chemistry which made United’s Champions League win of 1999 not only possible, but inevitable.
Nearly two decades on, the Premier League has become the envy of Europe. Money is its middle name, and now it appears to be just a matter of time before another English club is crowned as the Champions of Europe. While Tottenham may not blow teams away, with the same regularity as Liverpool or Manchester City, or have the same litany of silverware as Chelsea and Manchester United, the relatively larger core of British talents is the club’s unique selling point.
Even after the departure of Kyle Walker, Mauricio Pochettino has the same opportunity to utilise several British players in the same way that Sir Alex Ferguson began doing so nearly three decades ago. Alongside Harry Kane, a core quartet of Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Ben Davies are also in the prime of their careers, and will be for at least another five years. The comradeship amongst them is almost palpable on a weekly basis, and it was another key factor in the draw at Juventus.
Crucially, with a mutual respect between dressing room and manager that is seldom seen in the modern era, nobody at Tottenham is in danger of developing an ego. Few can forget just how much of a hole the club was in just ten years ago, with the first quarter of 2008/09 heralding the club’s worst ever start to a season. Although Tottenham clearly have a collective ability to go for broke when the chips are down, Pochettino will almost certainly have a game plan based on retention and self-preservation when required.
Ultimately, Harry Kane could not be in a better place right now, and his form has all the hallmarks of a player with deserved aspirations for the Champions League. This, in turn, can only give Pochettino an excellent platform on which to build for the future.
Tamhas Woods is a sports and betting writer with many years of experience in producing articles based around soccer analysis.