By Greg Lea.
The shot seemed to be the wrong option, but Harry Kane was adamant.
As a loose ball fell at his feet in the first half of Tottenham Hotspur's 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, the England international hit a low drive towards the bottom corner and watched it agonisingly rebound off the inside of the post and away from the danger zone. Kane has occasionally been criticised for shooting from outside the box too often, but this fine effort showcased why he invariably fancies himself to find the back of the net even from long distances.
Despite a slow start, Kane has enjoyed another excellent campaign in 2015/16. The 22-year-old made a stunning breakthrough at White Hart Lane last term, scoring 21 goals in 34 Premier League appearances, and currently has 11 strikes to his name in 20 outings in this time around.
It is the type of scoring ratio that all managers want from their leading centre-forward, with Kane also invaluable because of his contributions in general play: far from just standing in the penalty area and waiting for chances, the Tottenham man moves deep and wide to get involved in the build-up and combine with his attacking team-mates.
Kane has become an indispensable part of Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs outfit, but it will be a slight concern for the club's supporters that there is no real backup option in the pecking order behind him. Son Heung-min was signed as a potential option up top but is far more comfortable in the forward positions behind the central striker, while Clinton N'Jie acquired from Lyon for around £8.3 million in the summer has barely featured in the top flight and is currently injured. With Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado both let go before the start of the season, Tottenham were always likely to be short up front if Kane was forced to spend time on the sidelines because of injury or suspension.
Spurs' No.10 has started every Premier League game this season, completing the full 90 minutes on all but three occasions he was withdrawn after 85 minutes against Bournemouth, 81 against Swansea City and 64 against Stoke City. He has also played once in the League Cup, five times in the Europa League and on four occasions for England after a summer in which he went on Tottenham's post and pre-season tours and played for his country at the European Under-21 Championship.
Kane was visibly tired against Everton, which is not at all surprising given how hectic his schedule has been in the last year or so. Tottenham could therefore do with purchasing another striker in the January transfer window to relieve some of the pressure on Kane, although finding the right man may not be easy.
Kane is clearly first choice at White Hart Lane, which means any prospective addition will be aware that they are joining the club as a backup option. Tottenham's team spirit and collective work ethic has been one of their strengths this year, so Pochettino would need to be sure that a new centre-forward would not be disruptive if forced to spend the majority of his time on the bench. Saido Berahino was the primary target in the summer, but question marks over his attitude at West Bromwich Albion may have an influence on Pochettino and Tottenham's thinking this time around.
It is a delicate situation for Spurs, who must be torn between spending big to make a push for the Premier League title and keeping faith with the players and philosophy that has got them this far. Even if they do not break the bank to strengthen other areas, a striker is a must this January, with Tottenham likely to come unstuck if they rely solely on Kane for the remainder of the season.
Tottenham Require a New Striker as Backup for Kane
By Greg Lea.