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Don’t ruin your reputation, Harry, because it matters

Jamie Carragher

Tottenham star only has himself to blame for signing six-year deal with no buy-out clause


Tottenham's Harry Kane has been absent from training. Credit: PA

Tottenham's Harry Kane has been absent from training. Credit: PA

Tottenham's Harry Kane has been absent from training. Credit: PA

Watching the situation with Harry Kane unfold over the past few days has brought back memories for me of that time when Steven Gerrard was considering leaving Liverpool for Chelsea. My advice to Stevie then was ‘You’re going to come back to the city, your kids are going to be Liverpool fans, you’re loved, don’t ruin it for a move’.

He thought very hard about the reputational damage and that’s what pulled him back. He knew Chelsea were better than Liverpool and were going to win more trophies. We all did, just as we know Manchester City have won and will continue to win more than Tottenham. But sometimes certain things are special and you don’t ruin those special things.

I know people always say, ‘But Gerrard never won the league’. But I’m thinking what he did was bigger than winning the league. A local player, a one-club man, a Liverpool legend, arguably the greatest player in their history, all these things matter. They’re special. I’d say because of Stevie’s decision to stay there is almost a guarantee at some stage of his career that he will end up managing Liverpool.

Tottenham are not Liverpool in terms of trophies and history and I’m not saying Harry Kane should stay at Spurs. I know it’s about the here and now and winning trophies. I get he wants to win the Premier League, win the Champions League. I have no problem with him wanting to go to City. But it’s the way he’s going about trying to get that transfer by not turning up to training that is worrying.

My message to Harry would the same as it was to Stevie: don’t ruin your reputation for this; always think about your name and standing in the game. For me, that is as important as any trophy Harry could win.

Being a local player like Kane means you are judged to a different standard by your club’s supporters. I was terrified of Liverpool fans ever thinking I was angling for a move – not that I did – or that I was a problem or I was saying things in the press. My contract talks would only ever last a couple of hours because of this concern I had about how supporters might perceive the situation. I just think you have to conduct yourself differently as a local player. You are held to a higher standard.

If he goes to City, no matter what happens there, he will always be seen as Tottenham’s Harry Kane. He wants to be loved there. He’ll live in London when he’s finished, his kids will be Tottenham fans, he may end up managing the club. There are very few Harry Kanes left now. If you’re that player and you want to go, you’ve got to go through the front door – not the back door.

A lot of people are having a go at the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, saying he’s reneging on a handshake with Kane. But surely this gentleman’s agreement would have been along the lines of: ‘If you want to go, okay, you can go but someone has to cough up the money for you?’ Levy has got to protect Tottenham’s interests.

What is everyone expecting him to do? Move aside and roll over? Imagine the reaction from Tottenham fans to Levy if he let Kane leave on the cheap? If City are offering £100m for Jack Grealish, then Harry Kane is £150m. I love Grealish but how can you compare him to Kane? Kane is one of the best two or three players in the league. So the Grealish price plays into Levy’s hands.

But I still don’t understand this talk of Kane being backed into a corner. The club never forced Harry Kane to sign a six-year deal in 2018. It’s the fault of him and his advisors for signing a contract that long without a buyout clause, which was absolutely ridiculous.

What would annoy me if I was Kane is Man City seem to be sitting back and saying to him, ‘You might need to cause a bit of trouble because we want to get you cheaper’. But by kicking up a fuss, he may ruin his relationship with a club he’s been at since he was a kid. Kane should be putting the ball in City’s court and saying, ‘If you want me, you know what it’s going to cost’.

Kane’s actions will only have hardened Levy’s stance. I think he will see this as a fight now. I don’t think you want to irritate owners like that. I think Kane should have gone about it in another way. You risk turning the situation completely against you by not turning up for training when you have a six-year contract.

Don’t ruin your reputation, Harry. It matters.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]

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