Saturday 20 January 2018

Stephen Hunt: Happy Harry Kane shouldn't have nailed colours so firmly to Spurs' mast

Kane's declaration of love for Tottenham may seem a bit foolish when circumstances change

Harry Kane has stated he wants to stay at Tottenham for the rest of his career Photo: PA
Harry Kane has stated he wants to stay at Tottenham for the rest of his career Photo: PA
Stephen Hunt

Stephen Hunt

Oh, to be young and foolish again. Oh, to be Harry Kane.

The Tottenham striker is on a roller coaster of happiness but he is not living in the real world. When he announced last week that he wants to sign for Spurs for the rest of his career, it was nice to hear. But it was completely unnecessary. It may be how he feels at the moment, on the crest of a wave and everything going so well for him at White Hart Lane and in his personal life. But in the modern game, he is being unrealistic.

Kane is in a good place right now; in his career, loved at Spurs, playing for England, and with his home life after the recent birth of his first child.

He has said nothing wrong. Players have emotions and feelings and you have to let them express themselves, and if that is genuinely how he feels, good on him.

But I still can't really understand why he wanted to make such a bold statement. He is not looking to massage his ego and give himself a bigger head. He is very popular with the Spurs fans - that is a given, he is captain at 23 and he is working towards being a club legend. Some supporters might appreciate him even more but most will take it with a pinch of salt.

Kane is the best English striker in the Premier League and one of the best goalscorers. He has 14 goals this season, the same as Sergio Aguero and Jermain Defoe, and missed five games with an ankle injury.

He has gotten rid of the loans tag after going out to four different clubs and he took his opportunity at Tottenham to become top dog. He's got 63 goals in 91 games, which is brilliant.

Because his goals have become so important, he is under pressure to perform and score all the time, and, to be fair to him, he keeps doing it on a consistent basis.

And there is no doubt that Tottenham is a happy place to be. There are no boundaries between the players and the manager and his coaching staff. They are all friends and the club are taking advantage of that unity to an extent and giving out these long, new contracts to young players. And everyone wants to be together, so they sign. Kane has only just signed a six-year deal.

But if just one bad apple were to come in, one bad signing, and suddenly, if results start going the wrong way, it becomes two or three bad apples, there is a clique and the club is not a nice place to be anymore.

We had it at Reading. Steve Coppell signed a player with some experience who had been at bigger clubs. He wasn't happy from day one. And he wasn't afraid to share his unhappiness with his team-mates.

From a situation where everyone is happy with training, for example, and no one questions the manager, this player comes off from sessions and keeps saying, 'Well, that was rubbish'. And when he starts to question the manager, other players might start to listen to him and think, 'He's got a point'.

He might have been correct but there are times to keep your opinions to yourself and not undermine the manager. Unfortunately, it created divisions in the dressing room and we weren't experienced enough to deal with them.

It is very rare you have a manager in charge of a club for the length of time of a Ferguson or a Wenger. There is a sell-by date on a manager at every club, even if you love them.

When/if Pochettino leaves Spurs and goes to Manchester United or Barcelona, he is certain to look at signing Kane. Is he seriously saying he would not consider a move to those clubs?

If he stays, the new manager comes in, they start training from nine to five every day. He's not going to be happy then, is he? No one is.

Even if he is not that strict, he will make changes and he may never be able to replicate the togetherness of this current Spurs squad and the manager. That could be a problem.

I was in that zone at Reading in our first season in the Premier League. Happiness, joy, everything was an adventure. I was just happy to be there, thinking about where I'd come from, Stephen Hunt from Ireland, and going with the flow.

I still cringe at the day I overstepped the mark. We were celebrating promotion with a lap of honour, and I jumped on the owner John Madjeski's back. Sir John.

I look at the pictures now and think, 'What was I doing?' I was just caught up in the euphoria and the moment. I could have broken him in two but he ended up carrying me halfway round the pitch. He loved it, more than I thought he was loving it at the time, because every time I see him he mentions how much he loved it!

I never felt the need to kiss the badge but I loved it at Reading. But then your hormones change and you can't control your emotions. So when there is a change in the atmosphere, your head is turned and you realise there might be a better alternative out there and a better place to be.

No disrespect to Tottenham, or Reading, but it can be better. I actually went to Hull and ended up playing the best football of my career there, and I didn't feel affection towards the manager Phil Brown half as much as Steve Coppell, who was like a football father to me.

I don't know why it worked for me there but maybe I knew I had to start again. It was cushy at Reading but at Hull the facilities were basic - and even the food, if we got it, was not as good. Because it was tougher, I fought a little bit more and that brought out the best in me.

So if I was Kane, I'd have kept my options open and my mouth shut. It is good to have that innocence and naivety, but in four years' time, things will change.

It could even be in the next year . . .

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