The Tottenham Hotspur head coach spoke about his star striker and his future after the comprehensive win against Leicester City on Sunday
Jose Mourinho made a statement about Harry Kane after Tottenham’s 3-0 victory against Leicester City that might have sounded derogatory to some but was actually far from it.
Kane has roared back to his best in recent games for Spurs, dispelling any doubts that his best days were behind him after those injury problems.
The striker has scored six goals in the eight matches since the Premier League restarted, four coming in the last two games. He’s now plundered 13 goals in 18 matches under Mourinho.
Against the Foxes in particular, Kane was everywhere, working the channels, coming deep to get the ball and then up in the box, clinical in front of goal.
His first strike was low and guided, his second was trademark Kane, cutting inside from near the touchline and curling the ball sumptuously around the outstretched fingers of Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Kane’s passing ability was also on a level with most of those creative playmakers lauded across Europe, an improvised, outside of the foot pass setting Son Heung-min away for Spurs’ first goal and then a stunning, no-look reverse ball in the second half that the South Korean star really should have finished off.
After the final whistle, Mourinho came out with a very deliberate statement about his talisman.
“I think everyone thinks he’s a fantastic player and Tottenham are so lucky to have him because he’s the player, the person and the Tottenham boy,” he said.
“All this together makes him really a special player for us that probably wouldn’t be so special playing for another team. He’s really special for us, he’s really special for Tottenham.
“Of course we want him to be happy and for him to be happy he wants victories, score goals, and I’m so happy after an incredibly difficult injury he’s coming in the direction where he’s going to end the season perfect.
“Hopefully the beginning of next season he will be even better.”
It is those “special player” comments that were very carefully chosen by Mourinho.
He was not saying that Kane would not be as good at another team, far from it. It’s clear that at a team that creates chances galore he would net ridiculous figures each season, as he was during peak-Pochettino with Alli, Eriksen and Son all providing the bullets for him to shoot, including the one calendar year when he outscored everyone in Europe.
What Mourinho was making very clear, to Kane more than anyone else, is that the striker will never feel the love he gets from not only the Tottenham fans but everyone inside the north London club.
Kane is the ultimate poster boy for Tottenham Hotspur. To misquote the bellowing Obi-Wan Kenobi: “You were the chosen one Harry”.
The 26-year-old is the inspiration for every single child in the club’s academy. Work hard, make sacrifices, don’t get distracted and one day you too can become a Premier League star and the England captain.
He is ‘one of our own’ and you will find Kane front and centre of every marketing campaign for Spurs and England.
The forward was rewarded for his efforts with his club with the most lucrative contract in Spurs’ history in 2018, with a six-year commitment to it.
Behind the scenes he holds plenty of power in the dressing room and it’s very clear that Tottenham Hotspur right now revolves around Harry Kane, even with the arrival of The Special One.
Like Alan Shearer at Newcastle, Kane is the chosen one. He has become a symbol, more than just a player.
That’s not only been a problem in attracting another proven goalscorer to come to the club, with a string of agents having admitted that Kane’s presence and guaranteed – and earned – starting slot means their client is unlikely to choose Spurs simply to throw away regular football in order to sit on the bench.
It’s also occasionally an issue for his team-mates. Lucas Moura famously missed out on the Champions League final despite his dramatic hat-trick in Amsterdam that got them there, because Mauricio Pochettino was always going to pick even a half-sharp Kane because of that belief in him.
No European giant – the types that could afford the enormous fee Daniel Levy would command for Kane – would hold the striker in such high regard. He would be another part of the machine, rather than the key component.
Off the pitch, Kane does not hold the affection among most other clubs’ fans as he does from the Tottenham faithful.
He is ridiculed by many and few would place him in the world class bracket he belongs, despite hitting 203 goals in just 351 games, far less than Premier League legends such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry and Wayne Rooney.
Even in this injury-ravaged and fragmented season for him, where he did not play for six months, Kane has scored 23 goals for Spurs in 33 games and for club and country, 33 in 39 matches.
He is world class and perhaps it’s his tendency to score against teams that brings about an almost bitter disregard for his ability. Even when he scores for England there’s a begrudging nature in the celebrations from many other clubs’ fans.
So Mourinho is right, Kane would not be considered as special anywhere else as he is at Spurs.
That alone is not enough to keep the striker at the club for the rest of his career though. That will depend on whether the Portuguese can deliver Kane the trophies he deserves and craves.
Mourinho believes he can and if the duo do take the club to new heights, Kane will be more than just special at Tottenham Hotspur, he’ll become a legend.