Call it a striker’s intuition, Mark even told us back in October, 2014 – just as Harry was about to explode in a Spurs shirt – that here was a lad with ‘an eye for goal’ and that he would be delighted if Harry broke the 20-goal barrier for the season, as he’d been told that he was the last home-grown striker to do so.
As we know now, Harry went on to score 31 goals in 2014-15, followed up with 28 and the Premier League’s Golden Boot last term and has already passed 20 again after his third hat-trick in nine games against Stoke on Sunday.
He’s now three goals away from Mark’s 89 in a Spurs shirt and has equalled another of Mark’s records – he’s now scored 20-plus goals in all competitions for three seasons on the trot, a feat last achieved by Mark in 1983-84, 84-85 and 85-86.
“You could see straight away that he had everything going for him and it was just a case of gaining the experience and honing his game,” said Mark, who joined us as an apprentice in 1977, made his debut in 1979 and went on to score 89 goals in 236 appearances before moving to Watford in October, 1986.
“He’s done that. He’s always had that eye for goal, you could see that when he was coming up through the youth teams. I saw him quite early on and thought ‘yep, he’ll do for me!’”
How do you move on from your debut and first goals to doing it consistently in the first team?
Mark: “The main thing is having confidence in yourself and working hard on your game every day and I know Harry does that, he works on his technique, shooting, finishing – all aspects. It’s about having that will, that determination to succeed. You need a certain character to come through the system and prove to people that you are good enough to make it at the very top level. Harry has the mentality and capability to have done that, plus the will-to-win and of course the technique. He’s got it all. On top of all that, he also has a great mindset and as an individual, he’s got his feet firmly on the ground. You never see him in the headlines for the wrong reasons.”
Mark: “Harry’s got an eye for goal, he takes up good positions, good awareness as well, he knows where he has to be at the right time. He can strike a ball and he has good composure as well. Look at his second goal against Stoke, from the corner, what technique that was. He’s not hurried, he doesn’t seem to snatch at chances, he’s confident and knows what he’s doing. He’s proving he can do it year after year at the very top and he gave the rest of the strikers a start this season with his injury but he’s still right up there. I think he’s proved he’s not a ‘one-season wonder’ which is a tag people wanted to throw at him.”
Did they say the same about you?
Mark: “No, I think they said I was a ‘no-season wonder’!”
Look out tomorrow for a special Q&A with Mark and Harry…