The Big Interview - Harry Kane
06 June 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Turn the clock back to the last major international tournament and Harry Kane was already showing signs of the drive that would send records crashing over the next two years.
Only 20 at the time, Harry had just completed his breakthrough season at Spurs as England prepared for the 2014 World Cup.
After an early debut in 2011 and a number of loans, the Academy product made 19 appearances in all competitions but crucially, responded when called upon late in the season. He scored his first Premier League goal against Sunderland on April 7 and followed up against West Brom and Palace.
Speaking in May, 2014 and reflecting on that breakthrough, Harry told us: "As a young lad breaking through you have to wait for your chance. My chance came at the end of the season and you have to take it, no matter when it comes.
"My target is to get more starts and score more goals. I’ve played at the back end of the season and I’d love to be involved at the start of next season. I know that will take a lot of hard work but hopefully I'll take this confidence into next season."
Below: Harry celebrates his first Premier League goal against Sunderland in April, 2014
The rest is history.
Harry followed up with a 31-goal campaign in 2014-15 - where he scored 79 seconds into his senior England debut - and then landed the Premier League’s Golden Boot last season with a club high in the Premier League of 25 goals and 28 in total. He’s the first Spur to score back-to-back 20s in league football for us since Martin Chivers (1970-1972). His total stands at 64 goals in 127 appearances.
Now 22, he looks set to lead the line as England travel to France for Euro 2016, facing Russia in their opening match in Marseille on Saturday (8pm). The squad arrived in Chantilly on Monday.
Ahead of the tournament, Harry looked back on 2015-16, a season his 25 goals fired us to a highest finish in the Premier League and back into the Champions League.
Below: Harry with the Premier League's Golden Boot
Not bad for a one-season wonder!
Harry: “After last season (2014-15) there was a lot of talk about if I could do it again but I always believed in myself, always knew I was capable of doing it again and getting better. That’s the thing. It wasn’t just about maintaining my form, it was about trying to get better and better. I’m glad I’ve done so and I’ll look to build on it again next season.”
There was certainly perception from outside the club that things weren’t going well at the start of the season when you had one in nine in the Premier League, how did you cope with that?
Harry: “I knew I was playing well. If I wasn’t getting chances I would have been worried but I was getting into the positions, getting shots off, I was a bit unlucky and it was just about staying mentally strong and continuing doing what I was doing. As a striker, you need a bit of luck every now and then and I finally got that and pushed on. I had to keep working hard, doing my best for the team and the rewards followed.”
You ended with 25 goals in the Premier League - a record for the club in a Premier League season, beating the likes of Sheringham, Klinsmann, Defoe, Keane, Berbatov and Bale - and the Golden Boot…
Harry: “It’s something I’m very proud of. Those names are legends not just for Tottenham, but throughout football. I’m confident, feeling good and to be up there and break that record was special for me."
Spurs TV special - Harry the Goal-den Boy
The best thing is that you take it all in your stride…
Harry: “For me, it’s about progressing, getting better as a player and as a person as well. A lot has changed in the last couple of years and it’s all about how you take that on and respond to it. That makes you as a person. It’s exciting times and hopefully I can keep on improving and with the squad here, the manager and the way the club is moving forward I can only see us all getting better. I’m really excited and I know I have to work even harder than this year and the years before to keep getting better and better.”
Teddy Sheringham, Les Ferdinand and Robbie Keane all paid tribute when you toppled the club record 21 goals for the Premier League, how did that make you feel?
Harry: “It made me feel 10 feet tall. It’s hard not to get excited when you hear players like that talk about you in that way. But again, you have to stay grounded. I’ll take it all in and use it for confidence. That’s what I do, take positives like that out there and try to express myself on the pitch.”
Below: What a strike! Harry's goal against Arsenal photographed from the top tier of Paxton Road
At what point in the season did you think we might have something special here?
Harry: “I think the City game (4-1 home win) was a big game for us, to beat a team that had started the season on fire in the manner we did gave us all a lot of confidence. It showed we could beat anyone.”
How does it feel to be back in the Champions League next season?
Harry: “It’s exciting. It’s what the club set out to do at the start of the season. If you’d have asked any of us or any Spurs fan what they wanted at the start of the season, they would have all said to be in the Champions League next season and we’ve delivered that, so we’re all very pleased. It’s exciting times. All the top players in the world are in the Champions League, we’re up against the best teams in Europe and that’s where we want to be. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Do you remember the Champions League nights from 2010-11?
Harry: “I was 15, 16 when that happened, Gareth Bale's hat-trick in the San Siro and then Inter at White Hart, the Champions League is special. Everyone gets excited, the music, we’ll be walking out, seeing all that, taking it all in, it will be great. But look, we’re not there just to be fans of the Champions League, we’re there to make an impact. We can’t be in awe of it, we’re there for a reason and we fancy ourselves against anyone and we have to test ourselves against the best in the world.”
Mauricio has signed a new deal, we’ve a core of young players, we had a record-breaking season in 2015-16 - is there a feeling that this is just the start?
Harry: “We all feel we have a great thing going here, all moving in the right direction with a young and hungry squad. We want to keep improving, keep getting better and now we’ve had the taste of a Premier League title race we want to do it all over again. I can only see us all improving as people and players so it’s great the gaffer has committed to the club and we all want to push on next season.”
Do you feel the lads will grow from the experiences of last season?
Harry: “Yes, exactly. People forget it’s only a first or second season in the Premier League for a lot of us. Think where we are at this stage and add that experience and we can only get better. We have to use everything that has happened last season - good and bad - to our advantage. We have to take it all in, remember what it was like and use it for the seasons ahead.”
And finally, you Danny, Dele, Eric and Kyle are all off to Euro 2016 with England…
Harry: “It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to getting going and seeing what it’s all about in my first major tournament. It’s great we’ve so many players going to France. It's something our club is proud of.”