after his golden boot win at the 2018 world cup, Harry Kane’s reputation was at an all-time high, the English striker had hit at least 21 league goals in each of the previous four seasons had been awarded the Premier League’s player of the month award more times than Lampard and Rooney and had narrowly missed out on becoming the first player since Thierry Henry to finish as the prem’s top scorer three times in a row.
he was undoubtedly the best number nine in England and was arguably in the conversation for the world’s best along with Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the following season he was hit by two ligament injuries and quickly resembled a shadow of his former self Kane suddenly looked off the pace less mobile and less prolific after repeatedly rushing back from the treatment table typified by his performance in the champions league final against Liverpool where he mustered fewer shots and fewer key passes than left-back Danny Rose.
however 18 months later and it appears the England captain has regained the ruthlessness and consistency that originally made him the league’s most feared marksman and is playing some of the best football of his career how has he done it let’s find out
we’re not the first to say it but it looks more and more like English football’s prolonged hiatus following the Covid outbreak of early 2020 did wonders for Harry Kane’s career when the Premier League was postponed in mid-march the Tottenham striker was two weeks off returning from a two-month layoff during a season in which his attacking numbers had already fallen considerably he was taking just 2.8 shots a game the lowest average of his career and was also creating less than a chance per match his worst showing in five years,
while initially not being allowed access to the club’s training facilities and staff may have set his recovery back by days or even weeks the break in the season which lasted for over three months meant that when he finally did return to the side in June he looked fitter than he had in two years having been able to train for longer in preparation for first-team football.
Between October 2014 and January 2019, the Spurs striker missed just nine Premier League fixtures and played in two international tournaments meaning that with the exception of summer 2015 he practically didn’t stop playing for over four years it was clear Kane had needed a break and his post-lockdown form said as much following the restart the 27-year-old hit the back of the net every 116 minutes a huge improvement on his average of a goal every 162 minutes before his injury and he is only built on this in the new campaign.
Kane is now taking 4.5 shots a match the second-highest average of his career and is currently operating at 0.67 non-penalty expected goals per 90 his best rate since his 30-goal season of 2017-18 not only has he regained that extra yard but he also looks sharper able to find the best positions from which to utilise his superb finishing with greater efficiency,
of course, this isn’t just down to Kane spurs look overall a more functional attacking outfit in the early game weeks of the 2020-21 campaign, ranking second for goals fourth for shots, and second for expected goals after eight fixtures.
last season they ranked 11th for shots and scored on average 1.6 goals a game which has shot up to 2.4 so far this term other players who have shot include Tanguy Ndombele who looks much better in a more advanced position Pierre-Emile Højbjerg who has added a solid base from which to build attacks from defensive midfield and Sergio Reguilón whose speed dynamism and creativity from left-back gives the side an extra advantage on the counter.
with a better team around him Kane was always going to get better scoring chances but he has also himself become a far more effective player in build up his chart creation is the highest it’s ever been and he is taking a more active role in getting the ball up the field ranking third in the squad for progressive passes,
this isn’t necessarily new for the Englishman he has always been known for dropping deep to provide ball progression and release his teammates out wide but while in the past it often hindered the spurs attack exposing the side’s lack of technical prowess in the midfield and bringing Kane out of the areas in which he was most dangerous it now works brilliantly in their more counter-attacking system under Jose Mourinho,
and of course, there is his partnership with Son Heung-min who is the greatest recipient of his newfound creative edge seven of Kane’s eight league assists this term have been for the Korean and by the end of October, they had combined for 29 Premier League goals equaling the totals managed by Thierry Henry and Robert Perez as well as David Silva and Sergio Aguero and creeping closer to the record of 36 set by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.
right now Harry Kane is a more complete attacker than at any stage in his career currently producing at a higher rate than Robert Lewandowski did last season, doing it across the whole campaign will of course be tricky but it still represents an incredible transformation for a man who just 12 months ago was struggling to recapture his magic so that is why Harry Kane is the Premier League’s best striker again.