Sunday 21 January 2018

Tottenham striker Harry Kane ready to lead from the front once again

Harry Kane was on target as Tottenham secured a 1-1 draw with Arsenal
Harry Kane was on target as Tottenham secured a 1-1 draw with Arsenal

Harry Kane admits it was difficult to watch from the sidelines as his Tottenham "family" struggled for goals - but the striker insists he is ready to lead from the front once again having earned a point for Spurs in Sunday's north London derby at Arsenal.

The 23-year-old marked his comeback from a seven-week injury lay-off by slotting home an equalising penalty as Mauricio Pochettino's side left the Emirates Stadium with a 1-1 draw to extend their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

Kevin Wimmer's own goal had given Arsenal the lead at the interval but the visitors were the better side in the second half and Kane's leveller, after man of the match Mousa Dembele had been fouled by Laurent Koscielny, means he has five goals in as many games against the Gunners.

An ankle injury had kept Kane out of action and saw him miss 10 games for Tottenham, the last six of which the club failed to win with him absent.

In that run, Spurs managed just four goals and Kane - who has also been called up for England's forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Scotland and the friendly at home to Spain - says it was hard to stomach such a collective goal-drought without being able to help.

"It has been difficult, especially with the team going through a bit of a spell where we haven't been winning games," he said.

"It's hard. It's like watching my family - I just want to be out there helping them. But it's part of it. I was there training with the team, I was around them.

"It has been a difficult spell for us but we came out against Arsenal and played very well, we could have even nicked it.

"I felt fine. I have been working hard to be ready and I wouldn't have been out there if I wasn't feeling good enough.

"I'm happy with it. I still need to get some match fitness, but I was delighted to be out there and to score."

Kane could have had more than just his penalty to mark his return, but said he always believes in his ability when out on the pitch.

Asked if he likes the responsibility of being Tottenham's go-to man for goals, he replied: "Yes, it's what it's all about. I'm in the team to score goals.

"I try and score as many as I can in the season to help the team out. Whenever I'm on the pitch I feel confident.

"I had a header in the first half which went just wide, an effort at the back post (second half) which I didn't get the best contact on and I obviously scored a penalty. It was great to be back in those situations and to be back among the goals."

Kane's team-mate Eric Dier, who played as part of a back-three as Pochettino surprisingly shuffled his system, was quick to play down any issue with Tottenham's current run of form.

Despite being without a win since they beat Manchester City so convincingly on October 2, Dier laughed off the suggestion that a crisis is lurking at White Hart Lane - even if their hopes of progressing out of their Champions League group took a severe blow with defeat to Bayer Leverkusen ahead of the north London derby.

"In the week people were talking about Tottenham being in crisis, we haven't lost yet in the Premier League," he said.

"Obviously the Champions League was disappointing but I think it is funny when you're unbeaten in the league and it is a crisis.

"We did well (against Arsenal), sometimes it is nice to freshen it up, do something different and new, we enjoyed it and I think it went well.

"The manager does not need to say anything to us, as players we understand and know that on Wednesday we were nowhere near good enough."

While Spurs remain unbeaten in the league, Arsenal have not lost in all competitions since their opening weekend defeat at home to league leaders Liverpool.

Unlike their neighbours, they have secured safe passage out of their Champions League group but have dropped slightly off the pace domestically - with defender Hector Bellerin believing they deserved more than a share of the spoils on Sunday.

"I'm a bit disappointed with the result because I think the team deserved a bit more than just a draw," Bellerin told Arsenal Player.

"We had loads of chances all through the game, especially at the end of the second half. We couldn't be efficient enough to get another goal back and we need to learn from it."

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