Harry Kane was the top scorer at this year’s World Cup and fair play to him. He scored as many goals as any other English striker has managed at a single tournament and moved just four goals behind Gary Lineker’s total of ten World Cup strikes.
He is arguably the best ‘pure’ number nine in the world at the moment and is definitely going to break the British transfer record for a sale when he eventually leaves Spurs after they finish fifth this season and flog him off to Real Madrid.
But the point remains – he’s perhaps the worst Golden Boot since Oleg Salenko in 1994, and maybe ever.
It’s been well-publicised that England netted nine times from dead-ball situations and while that has its own merit due to organisation and solid rehearsal, it doesn’t lend itself to individual brilliance.
To be fair to the man, he’s working with a side who have about as much creative flow as yer da’s post-divorce attempt at a rap career, but he did little in the way to inspire the Three Lions at the tournament.
Oleg Salenko is always used as the prime example of a ‘bad’ top scorer, having scored five times against Cameroon in the one game back in 1994. At least only one of his was a penalty. Half of Kane’s goals in Russia came from the spot.
Perhaps you can enhance someone’s credentials when it comes to rating their top-scorership by citing ‘big’ moments in which they produced, but the truth is, Kane’s only huge moment came in the dying seconds against a woeful Tunisia side and it was from an excellently-worked – you guessed it – set piece.
When you think back to Ronaldo taking on players or even the swanky finishes from the industrious, if slightly underwhelming, Romelu Lukaku at this tournament, Kane pales in comparison.
The captaincy is a tricky burden, mind you – and he looked like he struggled with the extra pressure put on him by his manager. Strikers should never be captains – it just adds needless extra concerns to a player in a position that requires more instinct than actual thought process.
That’s not to say he had a bad tournament. He still scored that penalty, and his shootout kick to his credit, but did ‘Captain Kane’ notably carry England any more than a previous captain at a World Cup? Probably not.
He’s in the team to score goals and that’s what he did, but he failed to capitalise on rare glimpses of opportunity. His strike partner Raheem Sterling also failed to make any waves, so a lot of the blame firmly lies on the midfield’s lack of incisive passing and even more on Jordan Henderson’s happy-go-lucky approach to keeping possession.
While Lineker shone, Kane will go down in history as a top scorer indeed, but any real research will show that for the entirety of the tournament, he was bang average and aided by good preparation by his manager for him to capitalise on set plays.
All goals are the same on paper and that’s why this award is generally quite trivial, so it’s not too much to get worked up about.
At least football came home for him and the boys, eh? Eh?