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The major lesson the Premier League elite should learn from Tottenham

George Hodgson

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With Wayne Rooney’s phenomenal England career nearing an end, and the days of Michael Owen and Alan Shearer long-gone, there is one man who has everything it takes to step into the history books alongside those top England strikers.

The evolution of Tottenham Hotspur‘s Harry Kane in the past two years has been quite extraordinary and, at only 23 years-old, the sky is the limit for the Tottenham Hotspur number 10.

It wasn’t until the 2014/15 Premier League campaign that Kane really hit the heights, after loan spells at Leyton Orient in 2011, Millwall in 2012, Norwich in 2012/13 and Leicester City in 2013.

Harry Kane finished the 2014/15 season as the second top goalscorer behind Sergio Aguero, with 21 goals. The question marks were inevitably thrown over Kane’s head as to whether he was going to be another ‘one-season wonder’, but those question marks were soon put to bed.

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Despite a poor start to the 2015/16 season, Kane finished Premier League top goalscorer with 25 goals. This season he has taken his game to the next level, further establishing himself as arguably the best forward in the English top flight.

Kane hit 20+ goals for the third successive season. Despite missing a month through injury in March, the England front-man finished second in the top scorers, with 22.

In today’s market Harry Kane would be easily priced at £50 million plus, after inspiring Spurs to back-to-back top four finishes in the league.

With homegrown players so out of favour these days, and what seems like a growing necessity to pay the big bucks for players from abroad, it is fantastic to see a player come through the ranks at a top club in Tottenham, and succeed in the way he has done.

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Hailed as ‘one of our own’ by Spurs fans every week, Kane should be a model for other top clubs, such as Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool. Tottenham’s youth system is up there with the best in the country, as we have seen with not only Kane, but Josh Onomah and Harry Winks more recently too.

As well as the breakthrough of Kane, Manchester United have been blessed by the rise of Marcus Rashford. These are, without a doubt, two of the most exciting English prospects in recent times. It just goes to show that the footballing nation that is England, the pool of footballing talent that is England, should not be overlooked and ignored.

Nowadays players are often loaned out from clubs and not heard of again, but Kane is the perfect example to all young players out there. He’s a striker that has stepped down the leagues, improved his game through regular football, aided by the physical demands of the football league, and blossomed as a result into a first class Premier League forward.

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Tammy Abraham of Chelsea is a similar example. He has had an exceptional season with Bristol City in the Championship and it would be brilliant to see a player like the 19-year-old come back and get minutes at a club like Chelsea.

The talent in terms of strikers from abroad is obviously superb, but the growth of Kane has been a pleasure to watch and it would be great for the game to see other top clubs follow in the footsteps of Tottenham.

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Manchester United

Tottenham’s decision to rush back Harry Kane cost them in the FA Cup

The England international has only recently come back from injury.

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Harry Kane
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Harry Kane was a shadow of his former self against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final Saturday afternoon, contributing little as Tottenham Hotspur fell to a 2-1 defeat.

The English international struggled to influence the match and was clearly off the pace. It is glaringly clear that Mauricio Pochettino rushed Kane back from his ankle injury far too soon; a decision that may well have cost Spurs their best recent chance at silverware.

Back in March, the striker crumpled under an awkward challenge from Bournemouth‘s Asmir Begovic and left the match on crutches. Spurs fans held their breath in fear and were crushed when it was later revealed Kane had suffered ligament damage.

It was a blow that was widely expected to keep Kane on the sidelines for the next couple months, but remarkably the striker returned just three weeks later in a 3-1 away win against Chelsea.

However, in the following run of matches leading up to the season-defining encounter against Manchester United, Kane had largely looked unfit and missing his classic verve and intensity that has come to define his game.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

This lethargy was notably on show in the midweek fixture against Brighton. Although the 24-year-old scored a goal, he appeared tired and unwilling to make his characteristic attacking runs behind the defence.

On the biggest stage of them all, Tottenham’s star striker was well off his prolific best. It was a shame that Kane could not rise to the Wembley occasion and send Spurs to the FA Cup final.

However, it is through no fault of the Englishman, as the blame must be placed on the over-eager Tottenham backroom staff. There was no need to rush Kane back for the league matches before the massive semifinal, and the striker should have been saved for the United match.

As a result of Pochettino’s poor decision, Spurs are trophy-less and Kane is damaged – a tragic turn of events for the north London club.

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English Premier League

Tottenham should target Mario Lemina as long-term Mousa Dembele replacement

The Lilywhites should begin planning for life after the Belgian international.

Jake Jackman

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Mario Lemina
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The upcoming summer is going to be important for every top-six team for different reasons and they will all be looking to compete for the title.

Tottenham have been on the brink of achieving something special under Mauricio Pochettino. They have established themselves as a regular Champions League team and have played some excellent football, but they have yet to deliver a title challenge from post to post and that is their next challenge.

Throughout his time in North London, Pochettino has been reluctant to spend big money on a ready-made world-class player. The Argentine prefers to sign potential and mould a player in his own image. This summer, he will need to strengthen his squad once again as he lacks depth in a couple of positions.

One area of the pitch that he will look to add reinforcements is central midfield. Mousa Dembele has been the star in that position, but he is now 30 and he can’t be expected to play every match across all competitions.

Meanwhile, Victor Wanyama has only played 14 times in the Premier League and seems out of favour with Pochettino. Eric Dier and Harry Winks are both good options, but neither have pushed on in the way that Tottenham would have hoped.

There is a lot of quality in the middle of the park at Tottenham, but there haven’t been two players to make the positions their own. The answer to their midfield problems could come from an unlikely place.

Southampton have been a good stepping stone club since their return to the Premier League and, despite their impending relegation, they could have one more jewel worth pursuing.

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Mario Lemina has had a mixed first season in England, but there is no doubting his quality in midfield areas. The Gabon international arrived from Juventus and it was considered a coup at the time. He may not have thrived in the manner many expected, but it has been tough to shine in a team battling relegation.

He is a similar midfielder to Dembele in many aspects. Lemina is very effective at winning possession and he is comfortable with the ball at his feet. The 24-year-old averages 2.3 dribbles per game, which is only fractionally lower than the 2.5 managed by the Tottenham midfielder.

Considering Lemina is playing his first season in a new country, this is an encouraging stat and suggests he can become the powerful ball-carrier that Dembele has been in recent seasons. In terms of regaining possession, the Southampton man averages 2.1 tackles won and 1.48 interceptions per ninety minutes.

This is superior to Dembele, who averages 1.14 tackles won and 1.48 interceptions per ninety minutes. There are times when players are stained by a relegation, but the stats underline the impact that Lemina has had on games since arriving in England and in a better team, he could be a revelation.

Southampton are not going to be in a strong negotiating position if they are relegated, as expected. Despite their struggles this season, they have a lot of quality in their squad and there won’t be a shortage of takers for a lot of their players.

Lemina is the standout in their squad and his experience with Juventus means that he has the mentality to step up to one of the top six clubs. He looks a perfect fit for Tottenham and would be a great long-term replacement for Dembele.

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English Premier League

Could Sam Johnstone challenge Hugo Lloris for the number one spot at Spurs?

The Manchester United goalkeeper would be a shrewd addition from Tottenham Hotspur.

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This summer it appears as though Tottenham Hotspur will be needing to sign a new goalkeeper. Michel Vorm is out of contract and with only Argentine stopper Paulo Gazzaniga in reserve, Mauricio Pochettino will be targeting another stopper to play back-up to club captain Hugo Lloris. Now, according to The Sun, that man has been identified in the form of Manchester United stopper Sam Johnstone.

The Englishman has been in fine form this season, during a loan spell at Championship side Aston Villa. Johnstone is out of contract at Old Trafford in June and Spurs would like to bring him to North London to continue his career.

Undoubtedly the time has come for Johnstone to leave United, where he clearly is not seen as a first-teamer for the future. However, if he moved to Spurs, he would just be back on the bench playing back-up once again.

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But perhaps not?

Johnstone is a fantastic goalkeeper and, at 25-years-old, he should no longer be considered a second-choice keeper.

His form for Villa this season has been impressive however and, if he did head to Spurs, there is no doubt he would want to push Lloris for the starting spot.

Based on recent form, that should not be considered an unlikelihood anymore.

Lloris has been performing poorly recently, making uncharacteristic mistakes. His form has seen some Tottenham fans question whether or not the Frenchman may now be past his best.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Johnstone may not be a household name, but when coming through the ranks at United he was considered the top keeper in his age bracket on the international scene – ahead of current England contender Jack Butland.

If Johnstone was to arrive at Tottenham this summer he would surely not be looking to simply sit on the bench week in and week out. If he could perform like he has been at Villa, Johnstone might actually be in with a shout of becoming the Tottenham number one.

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