Spurs v Palace - key battle - Teddy Sheringham on Kane v Dann and Delaney
Fri 19 August 2016, 13:30|Tottenham Hotspur
For each game this season, we'll pick out a 'key battle' and ask a legend or pundit (or both) to give their insight into how that match-up will play out and affect the match. This week, Teddy Sheringham tells us how Harry Kane might try to escape the attention of Crystal Palace's central defensive pair Scott Dann and Damien Delaney...
124 goals in 277 games for Spurs, 1992-1997, 2001-2003
Treble-winner at United, 1998-99
11 goals in 51 England caps, 1993-2002
Teddy: "It’s about being strong, being clever and being clinical. You have to manoeuvre yourself between the two centre halves, make one think he’s picking you up and then drift onto the other, then the other one thinks he’s picking you up and just as that little change over happens, you go back towards the other one, he’s switched off for a slight split-second and it’s those split-seconds that can give you an opportunity. It’s a clever, clever role, unless you are going to be all about brute force, like Mark Hughes used to be, and have a physical battle. That’s not Harry’s game though. He wants to look for clever little passes in from Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen and to score goals from those angled passes."
Below: Goal! Harry gets away from Dann and climbs above Delaney to head home our equaliser in last season's 3-1 win against Palace at Selhurst Park
Be bright - and clinical
Teddy: "You then have to take into account that it’s Palace at White Hart Lane. It’s tough for a striker away from home but when you know a team will come in and say ‘okay, come and beat us’ with two centre halves and a sitting midfielder, it can be frustrating. Harry has to keep himself bright, alive and optimistic that a chance will fall to him. If he gets a chance, he has to take it. Alan Pardew is going to set his team out to try to limit Tottenham to maybe two and a half chances, and you have to take one of those chances. Hopefully, one will fall to Harry in a good position and then you have to be ready for that moment."
Below: Our graphic shows Dann and Delaney's average positions (left) and heat map up against Harry at Selhurst Park in January. Note Harry's number 10 right between Palace's defensive pair (6 and 27)
Early goal key
Teddy: "If you score an early goal, the whole game plan changes. Tottenham can then keep the ball, wait for Palace to come out, while Palace will have to come out and it all changes. This is why I’m saying that the little half-chances you create in the first 20 minutes, half-hour, everyone has to be in clinical mode and say ‘we need to take these chances so the game can change in our favour’. You don’t want to end up really pressing and pressing only to potentially be outdone on the counter-attack when you are pushing forward for the win."
Below: Teddy celebrates a goal against Chelsea, 2001
Teddy: "I played the main striker role when I was younger and my game evolved around the age of 24, 25 - in fact, around the time of my first spell at Tottenham. The players I was playing with were more direct, the likes of Chris Armstrong, Jurgen Klinsmann, Gordon Durie, they all wanted to be the out-and-out striker and then playing with Alan Shearer for England, I felt I had to adapt to play with these players. That’s where the thinking came in of being in and around, but still scoring goals, so Harry’s job is slightly different to how Tottenham supporters will remember me."
Below: Harry buries his header at Palace last season
He'll do it his way
Teddy: "There are not many players who can play that centre forward role in a one-up-front system. I could name probably three players who have done it really well over the years - Hughes, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o. Those three players did it their way and Harry does it his way. He’s shown us what he’s all about in the last couple of years and I think he certainly has the capability to do it again."