It’s that time of year again where we try to answer the age-old question: is Harry Kane world-class?
As far as these things go, it seems pretty straight forward to say that after winning consecutive golden boots in what is generally accepted to be the most difficult league in the world, Kane is world-class.
But for some pundits, the issue is apparently up in the air for one simple reason.
Despite all his talent and all his goals, Kane appears to have committed the mortal sin of playing his football for Tottenham Hotspur.
Phil Neville is the latest to question Kane’s world-class credentials, with the former Manchester United player unsurprisingly remaining dismissive of the Spurs, who have finished above his former club for two seasons in a row.
“He could have to leave Spurs to become that real top, top, world class, Lewandowski-type player,” Neville told BBC Radio 5Live.
“If Spurs maintain just being a top four team, that will not be good enough for someone like Harry Kane. I think he needs to be challenging for Ballon d’Ors, I think he needs to be challenging for Champions Leagues.
“If Spurs are always going to be that ‘nearly’ team eventually he will want to leave.”
It’s a bizarre claim to make that somehow playing for the team who finished second in the Premier League last season is not good enough to prove your worth.
The way I see it there, are two ways to read this current Spurs team. The first says Spurs are a small-time club and Kane has dragged them up the table by sheer force of his goals. If that is the case, surely such an achievement makes him already worthy being considered one of the best players in the world.
The second view is that Kane is part of a young team that has the talent to finish second in the league, and potentially higher as its key members reach their peaks. In this case, how would Kane leaving prove anything at all?
At 24, Kane still presumably has some time before he really hits his stride but he is already among the elite strikers in world football. Having racked up back-to-back golden boots, it would be an insult to limit comparisons to just the Premier League.
Few combine the array of skills Kane has shown over the last two seasons from his powerful runs to his deft finishes. He is the most complete striker in the Premier League and, contrary to Neville’s assertion he is already world-class.
Ask yourself who the three best out-and-out strikers in the world are right now.
For me, Kane makes that list alongside Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski. It’s hard to argue for any other Premier League strikers with Kane outscoring them all for two years straight, while there are few stand out strikers across the continent.
It’s not surprising to see a former Manchester United player say that Kane needs to leave Spurs. An Old Trafford switch has been mooted by the media for much of the past two seasons, although Kane himself has never made any public indication of a desire to leave.
In fact, Kane has only ever said that he hopes to spend his entire career at Tottenham and there is no reason why that cannot be the case but still there will be speculation in the papers over the best English striker of his generation.
He may have not won anything yet but Kane is showing the patience and maturity that we so often miss in the modern game – both on and off the pitch.
Kane has let his football do the talking for most of his career so far and there’s no reason he should change that now. For those who are paying attention, he’s already proven himself.
Is Kane world-class or does he have more to prove? Let us know in the comments below.