Is Kane World Class and should we even care?
A discussion that refuses to die. No matter how much one maintains that it’s ‘all about context’ or that it ‘depends on your definition’— people want answers. Is Harry Kane now in that very exclusive bracket of players you’d call world class?
36 goals in 31 games during 2017 certainly sounds productive enough. That’s more than Edinson Cavani, Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the absurdly prolific, Cristiano Ronaldo. And there’d be no omitting any of those from a list of the game’s finest.
At the very least, he’s an elite-level goal scorer. But anyone who’s studied Kane’s work over the last three seasons, knows there’s much more to his game than that.
I guess, as we hinted earlier, it depends somewhat on your interpretation of the term world class; what criteria you use to judge such things. I heard Barry Glendenning on Football Weekly the other day, outline his theory that you need to win trophies on a consistent basis to be worthy of the tag. Perfectly reasonable and it obviously counts Kane out. He’s collected zero trophies in his short career.
Before you cry ‘well by that logic does that mean Phil Neville is world class?’ I think the claim isn’t that all players who have won multiple trophies should be deemed world class, rather that all contenders for the premium label, need to have plenty of silverware in their locker. The difference is subtle but there is one.
To turn it around, though, using that model would Gabriel Batistuta not qualify? He picked up a handful of medals throughout his career but nothing like on a regular basis. What about Roberto Baggio? He was far from a serial winner at club level and famously didn’t lift the World Cup in 1994. And were Barcelona really prepared to spend £100m on a second-rate (by this yardstick) Philip Coutinho, who only has a Coppa Italia and a Brazilian Serie B title to his name?
My feeling is this: there’s no universal grading to determine whether Kane is world class or not. By numbers alone he’s unquestionably one of the top five strikers in Europe. I think most Spurs fans would be happy to settle for Harry Kane being really bloody good and be thankful that he’s playing for them. Other than that, I’m not sure they care too much.