For Spurs fans, the last year has been an exercise in frustration. 2021 started with poor form, ended with the abrupt sacking of Jose Mourinho – even more abrupt than his initial appointment – and seen an embarrassing summer. Through numerous managerial pursuits, the club eventually landed on Nuno Espirito Santo.
The fact the Portuguese was only given a two-year deal, with a compensation-free release clause if the club does not finish in the top six after one year, says everything about the disharmony around the club. Is it any surprise, then, that Harry Kane was so keen to leave?
Having been his worst form in a long time for the start of the season, too, fans are worried that the club captain has officially given up. However, a generally poor run of squad form under Nuno, as the club plays an obstinate 3-at-the-back formation that feels ill-suited to most of the team, means that there is a lot to worry about.
One thing that might be changing for the better, though, is the mindset of Kane. That comes from Gareth Southgate, the England manager, who was far more upbeat on the mindset of his key striker.
What did Gareth Southgate say about Harry Kane?
Speaking about the squad at large, Southgate was generally in a positive frame of mind with regards to how the team is progressing. However, the Three Lions coach also spoke to The Guardian about Kane, and noted: “What’s going on with his club is none of my business really. In terms of what we ask him to do, I think we’ve obviously got a settled way of playing here.
“His teammates know him, he knows his teammates, he knows the patterns of play that we play towards. There are obviously some games that are against a lower level of opponent, where it’s slightly easier to score goals.
“But he’s scored against some of the biggest opponents for us. I can’t talk about the club but I think he feels settled in our environment. I think it’s an environment where he knows we have belief but we have pushed him.“
When quizzed on if the national team could get better, Southgate added: “We want improvement from the team all the time. Of course, as the captain, he knows he has to set the standard in the training sessions every day as well. I can’t fault his application and dedication to what we’re doing. He’s got a real desire to go well with us.
“Harry obviously scored three goals in three different matches for us in September so I didn’t sense any change in his approach with us. There’s a lot changes at the club, a new manager and new tactical formations. Like all players, there will be an adaptation to that.”
For Spurs fans, then, this can hopefully distil some of the negativity that is lingering in the air at the moment. Things are not good, but a coach who has worked with Kane for years can only find positives in the current situation – that should be a positive if nothing else is.v