Harry Kane is established as the king of the North London derby. His incredible goal record – nine in his last 11 games against Arsenal – underlines his status as a world-class striker at the peak of his powers.
But what really makes Kane tick is his mentality, a determination to improve, to prove the doubters wrong and, above all, to be successful at the very highest level.
Kane believes he works harder than anyone else on the art of being a striker when it comes to finishing, movement and studying opponents.
“I’ve worked extremely hard to get to where I am now so it would be criminal to take your foot off the gas and allow maybe someone else to take your job or do a better job than you, not just at Tottenham but the strikers around the world,” said Kane.
“My aim is to always become one of the best in the world and, as I said, I feel like I’m at a good level but I feel there’s more to come. It’s that mindset which I’ve always had. I never let up, keep my foot on the pedal.
“I feel like I’ve had to prove a lot of people wrong throughout the early days of my career, to get to where I’ve got now. Of course, there are a lot of doubters, those who said I wouldn’t make it. I guess I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder to prove a lot of people wrong.
“But now I’m at a stage where I’ve proved my point in that aspect but I also want to prove to myself that I can go that one step further, get even better and achieve even more things.
“It’s a drive that’s been in me since a young age and to make sure that I am sure I work harder than anyone else. I feel very good at the moment in terms of physically, mentally and experience. Game understanding. I want to become a better finisher, improve my hold-up play, become a better passer.
“To take it to another level, you always have to progress. Your form might drop from time to time, there might be another player out there who impresses more, so it’s always about making sure that no-one else has an opportunity to take my place.”
Kane remembers watching Jermain Defoe scoring five goals against Wigan ten years ago, studying Robbie Keane’s movement and Teddy Sheringham, taking bits from each of them to improve himself as an all-round center-forward.
It has been a challenging road to the top from being loaned out to Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich, and Leicester to becoming Premier League Golden Boot winner, top scorer at the World Cup and now there is a desire to win silverware for Spurs.
“I feel like we’ve talked about it (winning trophies) for the past four or five years now which we probably have,” said Kane. “Every season it goes on makes it even more important.
“I feel we’ve definitely got a good enough squad. We’ve been close on a number of occasions but, at the end of the day, we’ve got to find a way to get the job done. It’s obviously important. It’s something we’re all trying to do, we’re not taking anything lightly.
“We won’t know until the season is over, but it’s our aim and we’ve all got a strong determination to make sure we do win something.”
What is interesting about Kane is how he views himself and his career. He has only just turned 26 but now regards himself as an older head in the team and one who should be entering the best years of his career.
“I feel like I’m getting to a stage in my career where I’m getting a lot of experience where I’m playing the best defenders, the best teams in the world, I’ve got that all in the bank,” he said.
“I’m 26 now, I’ve still hopefully got a lot of football ahead of me but I’m not a youngster anymore, I’m turning into an experienced player and I’ve got to take that in my stride.
“I need to become even more of a leader, do more things to help teammates and help younger players for club and country and take all of those roles on while also improving my own game.
“I’m in a good place. I just feel like I can improve, even more, it’s hard to say more and now it’s time to prove it on the pitch. Come to the end of the season, I always assess what I can improve on, what I can do better on and the end of this season will be no different.
“There’s always things you can take out, like injuries and fatigue, things like that, but I’m always trying to avoid as much of that as possible. The more I’m on the pitch, the more I can achieve as a player.”
By: Tamitope Adeniran