A young generation of Tottenham supporters may not remember the legendary Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta but when Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino compares Harry Kane to his former international team mate, there could hardly be a higher compliment.
Kane returned to his traditionally prolific ways with two goals in a stunning 3-0 victory at Everton on Saturday that brought to an end yet another unproductive August for the striker, who has never scored a top flight goal in that month.
The opening goal, albeit from a mishit cross that floated into the net, also brought up his century of goals for Tottenham, leaving his manager floundering for superlatives and appropriate comparisons.
“On the mental level yes, absolutely,” said Pochettino when asked if Kane compared favourably with Batistuta. “Maybe different characteristics but I think he is in that level, with Batistuta, I would put Harry Kane in with Batistuta. Yes, yes, yes, yes – Batistuta was a killer. And very strong mentality, very strong shot, great professional, I think yes, you can compare.
“But for me ok I put Batistuta there (raises hand above other) and Harry (just below), but Harry can be better (than him). He is a killer, Harry Kane, look at the goals he has scored the last year. Batistuta scored goals like Harry scored today – when you are a killer as a striker I think you need some luck too like today!”
Batistuta, for those Spurs supporters too young to remember a striker whose elite career ended in Italy 14 years ago, scored an impressive 54 goals in 77 appearances for Argentina although, as a team mate with Pochettino, he was unable to beat David Seaman as his country lost a group game to England at the 2002 World Cup, effectively eliminating the South Americans from that tournament.
Certainly, at the age of just 24, Kane certainly has the potential to eclipse the great Argentine’s achievements and a career tally that has now seen him score 80 Premier League goals in just 105 starts, and a further dozen substitute appearances, hints at a legend in the making.
Pochettino certainly deserves his share of credit for making Kane a first team regular when he arrived at White Hart Lane ahead of the 2014-15 season, although the manager was keen to praise only the player himself.
“Of course you can feel when you have in front of you a potential top player, and then it is always that we can give the tools, but then it is up to them,” said Pochettino. “For me Harry Kane all that is happening he deserves himself, because he is the protagonist of his life, and he deserves all the prize.
“Only us we can provide the tool for him to grow up and show the quality that he has.”
For Kane to take a decisive next step in his development, a strong showing in the Champions League this season is surely required, although the same can be said of his manager, team mates and the club in general.
Spurs reached the quarter-finals on their first foray into the Champions League, seven years ago, but last season’s experience under Pochettino ended in failure with Spurs unable to emerge from a group containing Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen.
Wednesday sees Spurs host Borussia Dortmund at the start of this season’s campaign, with the use of Wembley as the team’s new home still a burning issue. The hugely dominant display at Everton, therefore, could not have been more timely.
“For all of us the Champions League is a big challenge we have ahead now,” he said. “Wednesday we start and try to show we deserve to be there, and that is the challenge. It is so important because it is true we signed some players and they need to settle we need to create a different dynamic and that is sure to help us a lot.
“And then we have ahead a very busy period, starting with Champions League on Wednesday and it is so important to get that feeling, no.”
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