The opening day match versus Everton marked the beginning of my fifth season as a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. Since 2012, I’ve seen the highs and lows of this club. I witnessed Andre Villas-Boas lead Spurs to a club-record for points in the Premier League only to capitulate in grand fashion the following season.
His replacement, Tim Sherwood, fared no better. The former Tottenham midfielder and youth development coach was too shrouded by his own ego to do the job. So much so, that he had worked himself out of it by the end of the season. I saw signs of promise in 2014-15 when, during what was expected to be a rebuilding year, Spurs finished fifth under Mauricio Pochettinoa��reaching the League Cup final as well.
I experienced utter elation last season when Spurs sustained the title race for as long as they did. And felt immense pain when they crashed and burned in the run-in to the season.
In my time as a supporter, I’ve seen many players come through the club. Gareth Bale remains my favorite despite leaving in the summer of 2013. Four years on, many of the players that were with Spurs in 2012 have left. However, the likes of Moussa DembA�lA�, Hugo Lloris, and Jan Vertonghen stuck around. Danny Rose and Kyle Walker have both developed from error-prone fullbacks into England’s first choice. Some of the younger academy players from that time have grown into bit-part players for the senior squad. And, they’re just beginning.
Jermaine Defoe was Spurs’ main striker in 2012-13. Emmanuel Adebayor was at the club as well, having joined on loan the season prior but ultimately making the deal permanent. The following summer, after the sale of Bale, the club brought in Roberto Soldado to pick up the goal slack. That didn’t work as planned, and Soldado was later shipped off before the beginning of last season. Defoe had already departeda��first to Toronto FC and MLS, later to Sunderlanda��while Adebayor had disappeared. Again.
Then came 2014, and the emergence of Harry Kane. As is well-known by now, Kane comes from Tottenham’s academy. The one thing Sherwood did get right in his tenure as Spurs’ boss was to hand Kane his first senior cap. It was rumored that Pochettino wanted to take Kane to Southampton while the Argentine was managing Saints FC, but Spurs were understandably reluctant to let him go. Slowly but surely, Kane started producinga��first in the Europa League, then from off the bench, and finally from the start in the Premier League.
That season was Kane’s coming out party. He scored 31 goals between the Premier and the Europa League. It would soon be clear that he was the forward Spurs had sought out for so long. Would his success translate into his first full season?
The answer was a resounding yes. Although he started slowly, taking until the seventh match to notch his first goal. After a shorter spell without a goal, Kane exploded into form with a hat-trick at Bournemouth in mid-October. His season was truly underway. When it was all said and done, Kane finished with 27 goals in all competitions. 25 in the Premier Leaguea��good enough for the Golden Boota��and a further two in Europe.
His poor form coincided with Tottenham’s performance dip at the end of last season, as he crawled into the Euros and largely failed to produce in France as well. Coming into this season, hopes were that he would get off the stumbling blocks early. It only took four matches this time around, when Kane got off the mark with a goal at Stoke. He then scored one week later, at home to Sunderland, and that goal earned Spurs three points. However, about five minutes from full-time, he had to be subbed following an attempt to win the ball.
The nature of the injury was evident from the starta��this was no slight knock. Kane couldn’t walk, and suddenly all of my worst fears as a Spurs supporter had been realized. The moment all Spurs fans were dreading for two seasons had actually come to pass. Harry Kane was set for a prolonged absence through injury.
It easily could have been a lot worse, but eight weeks is not good considering how vital he is to our title dreams. A player of Kane’s importance needs to be in the team regardless of form. There is no positive take on a serious injury to a key player by using poor form as a reason to need rest, but that’s precisely what some have done.
Spurs must cope without Kane as he’s out for the next month and a half. He’s already missed two matchesa��one in the Champions Leaguea��and he’s set to miss key fixtures against Manchester City and possibly Arsenal in the league, Liverpool in the EFL Cup, and Leverkusen in the Champions League. This is the bare minimum we’re talking about here.
How will they cope? New summer signing Vincent Janssen is the first option to replace Kane. A forward of similar build but entirely different in nature, Janssen will drop to link play between the midfielders to get an attack started. He’s got deceptive pace for a man of his stature, and his instincts in the box are strong but still a work-in-progress.
Other options involved playing Son in an advanced role, but his form as a winger need not be compromised right now. Youth options exist, but it may be too early to hand Shayon Harrison a role in the first team. Spurs could take the false-nine approach and start Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, or even Erik Lamela in that role. For now, it seems Janssen is doing okay. One would argue that he needs to be showing more; hopefully the best in still in store for the Dutchman.
All that said, even without Kane, Spurs managed to defeat a resolute Middlesbrough side and then were able to go into Moscow and defeat CSKA with an inspired performance. Missing Kane is not ideal, but Tottenham have certainly coped. So far, at least.
To tie this all togethera��this team has come a long way in the short time since I became a supporter. If there’s anything I’ve learned lately, it’s that they can keep things moving forward without a hitch.