Harry Kane on England, Goals and His Future at Spurs

LONDON — There are a number of issues that everyone is aware of about Harry Kane. First and foremost, there may be the truth that he’s the captain of England’s nationwide soccer staff, a standing that bestows upon its bearer the form of profile unavailable to most athletes, notably in match years. It is part-of-the-furniture fame, royal household fame. Everyone has heard of Harry Kane.

Then there are the objectives. Harry Kane scores objectives with startling effectivity. He scores objectives with each ft and together with his head. He scores objectives from shut vary and from lengthy distance, for good groups and unhealthy. He does not likely appear to be topic to issues like kind or confidence. He merely began scoring objectives seven years in the past and by no means stopped.

He has scored so many that he’s seventh on the record of the Premier League’s profession prime scorers; with a good wind, he can be third subsequent yr at this time and inside touching distance of the record-holder, Alan Shearer, not lengthy after he turns 30. By that stage, in all probability, he may have usurped Wayne Rooney as England’s main scorer, too.

What colours he can be sporting as he does so is anybody’s guess. Everyone has identified for a while, after all, that Harry Kane is one among Tottenham’s personal, the star of the staff he supported as a baby.

Over the previous couple of weeks, although, a drip feed of interviews has made it clear that, in Harry Kane’s thoughts, which may have to vary this summer season, if he’s to satisfy his ambition of successful collective awards, relatively than particular person ones. The expectation is that at some level, one among Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea will make him the costliest English participant in historical past.

Kane scored 23 objectives for Tottenham this season, successful the Premier League scoring title for the third time.Credit…Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

But that’s the place the data stops. Harry Kane is captain of England, he scores a number of objectives and he’s about to star in his very personal switch saga. Beyond that, Harry Kane is one thing of an enigma. It is a neat trick: for a participant of his standing, and an athlete of his era, to be as effectively generally known as he’s and but not well-known at all.

Occasionally, some trivial jetsam floats to shore. He went to the identical faculty as David Beckham. He married his childhood sweetheart. He likes “Dexter,” the tv present. He is an ardent fan of the N.F.L. typically and Tom Brady particularly, and harbors hopes of taking part in that different sort of soccer — as a kicker — sometime.

They are mere particulars, glimpses of what lies beneath, relatively than an entire image of a persona. His title, maybe, illustrates it greatest. Most gamers are referred to solely by their surname, a convention that reminds them they’re simply cogs in a machine. Only a choose handful are afforded the privilege of being identified just by their first title.

For Harry Kane, it’s neither. Calling him “Kane” would appear disrespectful: He is extra than simply one other participant. But he’s not a “Harry,” both: Somehow that may be too intimate, too acquainted.

Instead, he’ll lead England into this summer season’s European Championship — hoping to win a world match in a last on house soil — as Harry Kane, forename and surname, like a reverse Pelé. It is an honor, in a method, however it’s also an indication of some unconscious distance, as if he’s a model, or an organization, or a spot.

There are a number of issues everybody is aware of about Harry Kane. But understanding who he’s, or what he’s like, is just not one among them.


At the top of his first marketing campaign with Tottenham, Kane and his teammates traveled to Australia for a quick tour. It had been Kane’s breakout yr: He had scored 21 objectives in 34 Premier League video games. Almost in a single day, he had gone from a fringe participant, eternally being shipped out on mortgage, to a blossoming idol.

Kane, although, had not observed the transformation. While he was in Sydney, he determined that he fancied a stroll. He took himself to the closest mall, anticipating to have the ability to quietly wander round in peace. Instead, inside a couple of minutes, he discovered himself swarmed by a whole lot of followers. Unable to flee, he needed to name the membership to get him out.

The reminiscence has stayed with him. “I think, at the start, I was a bit naïve about what being famous would be like in terms of what you can and can’t do,” he stated. “I appreciate it, obviously, and I enjoy parts of it, and I suppose when I retire and it’s gone, I'll be able to tell you if I miss it or not. But there are restrictions that come with it.”

Kane within the stands after England’s victory within the 2018 World Cup Russia quarterfinals.Credit…Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Kane traces that naïveté to the truth that he had by no means actually thought of the “famous” a part of “famous footballer.” He grew up, in Chingford, Essex, on London’s northeast fringe, dreaming of taking part in for Tottenham and for England. His idol was Beckham. Kane cites him as his “role model,” however that admiration went solely up to now.

“I had a mohawk when he had one,” Kane stated. “But he wasn’t a role model for me in terms of what he was wearing. It was how he conducted himself. I wanted to be a footballer, that was it. I was not really worried about being in the public eye.”

Kane by no means misplaced that single-mindedness. Long earlier than he established himself at Tottenham, as he made his method across the nation with the smaller golf equipment the place he had been despatched, numerous coaches had been impressed by his doggedness, his dedication.

At Norwich, Chris Hughton recalled Kane practising ending for therefore lengthy that each one of his teammates, in addition to the goalkeepers, left him to his personal gadgets. At Millwall, he requested his supervisor, Kenny Jackett, if he might assist him get higher within the air. Even now — when most of Kane’s week is spent recovering from one sport and making ready for one more — he admits to being a bit “addicted” to enhancing his efficiency information.

“I compete with myself,” he stated. “When I broke into the Premier League, I was not quite as physically developed as the other players. With Mauricio Pochettino, we did a lot in the gym, trying to improve my strength and speed and power. I got a bit addicted to improving the statistics. I put pressure on myself to get better.”

He takes the identical method to the opposite features of being one of the vital well-known athletes within the nation. Kane is just not, by his personal admission, the kind to “get into situations where I am photographed on a night out.” That facet of movie star, so obtainable to him, is rejected not via necessity however inclination.

He retains his business commitments restricted, too. He won’t decide to any sponsor engagements 48 hours earlier than a sport: Even if they could largely contain, in his phrases, “standing around,” a photograph shoot lasting a number of hours could be draining. “And the games are the most important thing,” he stated.

He works solely with a handful of fastidiously chosen sponsors, ones deemed by the participant and his brother, Charlie, who can be his agent, to be a pure match. “If it’s just for the money, it can be hard work,” he stated. Like most gamers, he has a portfolio of charitable causes that he helps, too, some public and some personal.

Last yr, Kane struck an progressive deal to develop into the principle jersey sponsor of Leyton Orient, the east London membership the place he first performed senior soccer, as a method of supporting it throughout the pandemic. (Kane gave the promoting actual property over to 3 of his chosen charities.)

A 17-year-old Kane at Leyton Orient, throughout one among a number of mortgage stints early in his profession.Credit…Paul Childs/Action Images

His enterprise pursuits are rising, too. He is one among a number of England gamers to have invested in STATSports, a expertise firm that gives GPS monitoring vests to groups throughout a variety of sports activities. He made the choice not only for revenue, however as a result of he felt it “fitted my personality well.”

But Kane’s extracurricular actions are notably restricted in contrast with a few of his friends’. He might most likely have an association with Egyptian Steel, however doesn’t. He would possibly show a robust advocate for a facial health product in Japan, however he’s not tempted to search out out. Kane is a well-recognized face, a well-recognized title, however not as a result of he’s relentlessly marketed. He doesn’t search to commerce an excessive amount of on his fame, as a result of to him his fame is secondary.

There is a purpose the issues that everybody is aware of about Kane lengthen no additional, actually, than the sector itself: as a result of that’s all that he has centered on. “I don’t want that attention,” he stated. “It is a conscious effort to avoid it. Football is my job. I dedicated a lot of time and work to be where I am now, and I think some players lose sight of that. You start to think the other things are more important, more exciting, but what I am paid for is to work hard and be professional.”

What we learn about Harry Kane, in different phrases, are the issues that he desires us to know.

A Star’s Haven

By his personal estimate, Kane has watched “The Brady 6,” a documentary concerning the six quarterbacks chosen forward of Tom Brady within the 2000 N.F.L. draft, a dozen or so instances. Last spring, like tens of millions of others, he discovered himself captivated by “The Last Dance,” the documentary sequence highlighting Michael Jordan’s last yr with the Chicago Bulls.

Given the shortage of details about Kane, these two pretty unsurprising viewing selections — skilled athlete is intrigued by tales of nice athletes — are sometimes co-opted as false perception into who the 27-year-old Kane is away from the sector. Barring proof on the contrary, they show, in spite of everything, that he likes the N.F.L. and basketball.

But neither one appears notably extracurricular. Kane has spoken beforehand of the echoes he hears of his personal story in Brady’s rise — a participant written off by most earlier than his profession had begun, who managed to go on and conquer the world — and “The Last Dance” is, within the eyes of multiple soccer participant, a case research within the nature of greatness. These usually are not outdoors pursuits for Kane. It is background studying.

The one place that Kane does search solace from soccer — the one place he goes intentionally to flee — is the golf course. It is his haven, his likelihood to take his thoughts off his relentless drive to self-improve by persistently making an attempt to get higher at one thing else. “It is my way of meditating,” he stated. “When you’re playing, it is all you are thinking about for four or five hours. It gets me away from football.”

Kane hinted at his potential departure from Spurs throughout a golf-course interview this yr.Credit…Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Perhaps, then, it was solely on the golf course that Kane felt comfy sufficient, indifferent sufficient, to confront the problem of his future. He had been dropping hints for months — if not longer — that his ambitions and Tottenham’s may be beginning to diverge, although as a rule he had stopped wanting something that may be thought of undiplomatic.

Last month, although, whereas taking part in golf with Gary Neville, the previous Manchester United captain turned tv pundit, he was blunt. A tough dialog with Tottenham was coming, he advised Neville; he felt he might go on and win trophies for years to come back, and if the membership couldn’t present a staff to do this, he must take into account his choices.

He is at the stage of his profession when he’s beginning to consider legacy, weighing these particular person awards, the scoring titles and the participant of the yr accolades, in opposition to those that outline a participant: the titles gained and the cups lifted and the trophies claimed.

In an interview with The New York Times in late April he stated he “didn’t panic” about it, that he didn’t consider he had one final shot at successful one thing, however he’ll know, too, that point is just not limitless. He will flip 28 in July, and is beginning to think about what folks will learn about him when, years down the road, he’s now not the England captain, now not scoring objectives.

And he is aware of that one factor stands out above all others. “England is No. 1 for me,” he stated. “It is the biggest thing you can achieve. I dreamed of playing for England, but I also dreamed of winning something for England. That is on top of my list. You play Premier Leagues and Champions Leagues every year, but a major tournament only comes around once every two years. The window is a lot smaller. To win something with England: That would be No. 1.”

It would outstrip no matter he achieves, for himself and for his membership, whichever membership that’s: to be England captain, successful a significant trophy for the primary time in nearly 60 years, and doing so on house soil. Make that occur, and that would be the solely factor that folks will learn about Harry Kane. It is the one factor they might want to know. It would be the solely factor that issues.

“I dreamed of playing for England, but I also dreamed of winning something for England. That is on top of my list.”Credit…Ozan Kose/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images