Thierry Henry sat down with Tottenham striker Harry Kane in a Nissan Match Zone special for an in-depth look at the player’s traits ahead of the north London derby, live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday.
Henry and Kane go through the England international’s best goals and assists frame by frame, analysing the thought processes and technique that have helped the 24-year-old win the Premier League golden boot for two years running.
The Match Zone special will be re-run at 9pm on Thursday on Sky Sports Premier League, as well as 6pm, 9pm and midnight on Friday and 7.30am and 9.30am on Saturday, as well as On Demand.
Nissan Match Zone: Kane & Henry
November 16, 2017, 9:00pm
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Arsenal vs Tottenham
November 18, 2017, 11:30am
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Problems with perception
On judging a striker…
Henry: I want to ask… does it bother you that people only judge you on your goals?
Kane: Yes, I think so. There was a stage a couple of seasons ago when I wasn’t scoring goals and people said I was not the same player because of the dry spell. But I was playing really well and was pleased with how I was playing; I was holding it up well and bringing others into play.
That’s why the gaffer never thought about dropping me. Then I went on this goalscoring run and probably wasn’t playing as good as I could but because I was scoring it covered things up and people thought I was a great striker again. Nowadays you are judged on goals, which isn’t always fair, but unfortunately that’s part of the game.
Not just a goalscorer
On his all-round game…
Henry: What separates you from a typical No 9, or a box player?
Kane: Without boasting too much, I’d say a bit of everything. That’s what I try and work on. Holding the ball up is a big thing, as it brings others into play – whether it’s switching the play out wide or making runs to create space for other players.
There’s a lot that goes into a game for a striker, it isn’t just staying in the box and scoring goals and be happy. Sometimes I score goals, go home and think I could have played better – I should’ve done this and that better. For me it’s about work-rate and all those things that make me different to a goalscorer.
‘It’s something I’m proud of’
On his work-rate…
Kane is level with Jamie Vardy at the top of the running charts for Premier League strikers this season at 9.6km on average per game. But just how important is that to the 24-year-old?
PL distance covered per game – strikers 17/18 Harry Kane 9.6km Jamie Vardy 9.6km Romelu Lukaku 9.1km Sergio Aguero 8.4km Alvaro Morata 8.3km Alexandre Lacazette 7.9km Gabriel Jesus 7.1km
Kane: People just think it’s running off the ball, running back or defending, but a lot of it, as I said, is running to make space, or to get into the box or to get the ball. It’s something I’m proud of and it makes me who I am. Of course, you know the way the gaffer wants us to play, with high intensity and we press high. As I’ve grown up work-rate has always been number one and the ability takes over from there. It’s something I try to do, to make runs for other players, not always to get the ball to make space for others.
‘I want to win more than I want to score’
On increasing his assists tally…
Henry: Since the start of 16/17 you have made eight assists, Romelu Lukaku tops the list. At the end of the day you are judged on your goals but is this something you want to add to your game, let’s say around 10 a season?
Kane: Yes it is. Especially in my first season in the Premier League I finished with one assist. When I looked at it last year I thought it had to be at least over five. I got to seven the following season and then I set a target of 10 this season with 20 goals. People always talk about me shooting a lot and having a higher shot rate but I do what I think is right on the pitch at the time, and if there’s a better ball or situation that I see I will pass. At the end of the day I want to win more than I want to score, so it’s definitely something I want to improve on. If I can get double figures in a season it won’t just help me but it will help the team a lot as well.
PL assists – strikers since the start of 16/17 Romelu Lukaku 9 Harry Kane 8 Sergio Aguero 6 Jamie Vardy 5 Gabriel Jesus 5
Kane talks through his desire to register more assists
Henry: Let’s look at your one assist this season, against Liverpool.
Kane: I know Son has got the pace to beat James Milner, he’s running up behind. Other players may have taken a touch and tried to have gone one versus one, but all I was thinking was passing with a little lift to stop Joel Matip sticking his leg out and blocking. The pace Son is running I know it doesn’t have to be hard and that a little chipped ball around knee height would prevent it from being intercepted. It’s a good height and goes perfectly into his stride and it’s a fantastic finish, which is probably the best part of it.
Henry: You make that pass sound like it’s easy. I guess that’s why you are who you are. For people that don’t play the game, that pass makes the goal. People take it for granted. For you to imagine where you should drop the ball for Son, calculate his speed, know where to drop the ball with the right bounce, make sure Matip doesn’t get it and for Son to arrive on point and score is where the goal is made. That’s what I like about you, I can see there is a thinking process in what you do. You know the ‘why’. I love the fact you can explain why you did something. Nine players out of 10 would have passed that ball on the ground.
Kane: It happens a lot, little details that people don’t see, which make a big difference in the game.
Kane explains his thought process in assisting Son Heung-min for his goal against Liverpool Kane in action
On his specific goals…
Spurs 5-3 Chelsea, 2014/15
Henry: You had no right to score that goal. You scored that goal. It’s one of those goals where I say: ‘Harry Kane happened’.
Kane: At this moment in time I’m just thinking, keep the ball. Then Branislav Ivanovic just takes a little step back to show me inside. Christian Eriksen makes the run and takes Nemanja Matic with him.
Kane describes how he created space for himself for his goal against Chelsea in 2015
Then all I’m seeing is that space, I can either play it to Nacer Chadli or drive myself. At this stage in my career, it was one of my first big games in the Premier League, and I was full of confidence, and I decided to run in and get my shot off.
I cut inside, used a bit of strength to hold Oscar off, and again the only way I can score is back across the goal. The goalkeeper is half-grounded, John Terry is blocking the near post, and low and hard is difficult for goalkeepers across the goal. I hit it perfectly really, and it was a big moment for me in my career.
Southampton 0-2 Spurs, 2015/16
Kane: I knew in my head that if he could just get a touch, it is just me one v one with Van Dijk. And then I can either go inside or outside. I am thinking, ‘how can I slow down to then go again and get one v one with Van Dijk?
I make a movement as if I am going to go back and [the defenders] stop, giving me the chance to then accelerate again. Then Van Dijk has got a decision whether to go for the ball or not.
It was the perfect touch as it committed [Van Dijk], get a little toe and then I’m looking at the ‘keeper, have I got time? Then the ‘keeper makes it a little bit easy for me by guessing the way.
Kane describes frame by frame how he scored this goal against Southampton in 2015
Spurs 2-2 Arsenal, 2015/16
Henry: It was a difficult one for me to see at the time, but what a goal. Even as an Arsenal man, when you scored that goal I thought: ‘Wow, what a goal.’
Kane: It was probably one of the best in my career. I was thinking, if I want to score I need to start outside of the goal, so it can spin or curve. So when I receive the ball, that’s all I’m thinking, start it outside of the goal. I’m not even thinking about my touch, or anything else, just: ‘Start it outside the goal’.
I know it’s in as soon as I look up and see where it’s heading. A special moment.
You have an image of how it is going to play out, the photography in your mind. By the time I get the ball I know where everyone is, so you know whether to shoot near post, far post, starting outside the goal, or through someone’s legs. Nine times out of 10 it plays out how I think it will, and it’s just down to me to finish it.
‘If we want to challenge, we need to win these games’
On the north London derby…
Kane: It’s important for us to start beating the big teams away. Not just Arsenal, but all of the top six. We’ve done very well at home against them in recent years, but if we want to be challenging for the title, these are the games we need to win away from home.
We’re going to try and win the game, we always do, but it will be tough. We need to go and play the way we play against them at home, and find a way to win.