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Harry Kane: Why lads of Millwall, Leyton Orient deserve credit for his Spurs success

COMMENT: Harry Kane is a top-flight striker with a lower division attitude.

The Tottenham centre-forward's success this season has come from his love for the physical battle.

He's left Premier League defenders shell-shocked. Harry Kane wasn't in the script. They signed up for Sergio Aguero and Daniel Sturridge, not a 6ft 2in powerhouse, who will run at them all day long. If he doesn't do you with skill, he'll win through sheer attrition. With Kane barreling away for the full 90, is it any wonder Spurs have won so many games late on this season?

Just as we've seen with so many Cup shocks, Kane has taken his experiences with Millwall and Leyton Orient and used what he's learned to rattle Premier League cages. Millionaire defenders just don't fancy him.

The experience of playing in the lower leagues on-loan has shaped Kane's character - off and on the pitch.

At the Orient, he played alongside 6ft 3in Alex Revell, now of Cardiff City. Revell has forged a career for himself as an enthusiastic, hard-running centre-forward. Also with the O's, Kane shared a dressing room with Scott McGleish, a fans' favourite and another best known for the heart and passion he showed on the field.

With Millwall, where like Orient he enjoyed his best football before this season, Kane was paired in attack with Darius Henderson. No prolific goalscorer, Henderson's game is all about using his 6ft 4in frame to set up those around him.

Consider the experience and wisdom of these good, honest senior pros - and you see it now shining through Harry Kane.

But beyond the right attitude, Kane has shown he has just about everything in his locker to become a world-beater.

He's scored from outside the box with both his left and right feet. He's powered home headers. He's gone on slalom runs before finishing past scrambling goalkeepers. He's banged home free-kicks and finished penalties.

What stands out from this season's catalog of 29 goals is the quality of Kane's finishing. It's Rushie-esque - Liverpool legend Ian Rush at his best. Kane doesn't simply blast away, his goalscoring is dominated by him hitting the inside of the side-netting. When he draws back to shoot, he knows exactly where he wants to place the ball. It's almost always aimed at the inside of the far post - left or right.

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood is wrong when declaring himself the first manager to back Harry Kane.

Yes, it was Sherwood who gave Kane a chance during his short stint as Spurs manager. But it's Kane's current gaffer who was the first top-flight manager to back the lad's ability.

Mauricio Pochettino was willing to spend £6-7 million last January to take Kane to Southampton. The striker had flopped on-loan with both Norwich City and Leicester City the previous season and was well down the pecking order at Spurs.

But Pochettino had seen enough of Kane in U21 action to be convinced of his quality and pushed hard to bring him to St Mary's. That Sherwood piped up and convinced Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, not to sell deserves recognising. But it was Pochettino who was prepared to put his reputation on the line for the little-known Spurs reserve with what many judges saw as an inflated bid.

Now, just over 12 months on, Real Madrid have a scout posted at every White Hart Lane game to report on his progress - and he's about to lead the line for England.

But it all came from that time with Orient and Millwall.

"How do you train a heart?" said former Orient owner Barry Hearn about his old players. "It's like a fighter who hasn't got a chin. You've either got it or you haven't. These boys have got it."

And thanks to his time at the Den and Brisbane Road, so has Harry Kane.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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