The two defining aspects to come from Tottenham’s come-from-behind victory over West Ham were obvious. The two Harrys, Winks early and Kane late, stole the show entirely. They scored all three goals and were the two most influential players on the pitch. Whilst they play vastly different roles, and influence in vastly different ways, they are each local lads turned pros. The academy graduates come good, Kane again proving just how good he is and Winks showing how bright a future he has. In a game where Spurs finally returned to goal scoring and winning ways, the importance of these two local youngsters bore out a great result for the home side that they would not otherwise have managed.
Harry Winks has been threatening for a while, has been talked up by Mauricio Pochettino and there have been times when a full Premier League debut seemed imminent. Prior to the international break he appeared to be on the cusp. That his debut start finally came in such an important derby fixture was perhaps something of a surprise. A pleasant one at that however, as Winks had shown more than enough in the last year or so, in cup games and in brief cameos off the bench. That there was something about the young lad, that he wasn’t just another Tom Carroll, in that he was four years Carroll’s junior but already looked the better player when the two appeared together. His time had come.
And Winks delivered what can only be classed as the most impressive full debut by a Spurs youngster since Eric Dier, who also happened to score against West Ham on his own debut. The goal really though was a bonus for both Winks and the White Hart Lane faithful alike. It was the culmination of a brilliant first half, first twenty five minutes in particular. A half in which his ball control, decisiveness, willingness and energy to get involved and feed the attacking outlet was matched by an ability to execute. To complete passes and to contribute to both the movement out of defence and into attack. Winks combined a passion to impress with an ability and confidence to prove his worth at the level.
In a first half in which Spurs were off the pace and lucky to only be a goal down at the break, Winks was the shining light. A beacon of hope as the home team headed towards what looked like becoming yet another drawing of blanks in front of goal. His bustling display surely heralds the 20-year-old as deserving of another start imminently; if not in the crucial Champions League match in Monaco then perhaps even the daunting Stamford Bridge clash next week. Through injury and tiredness comes opportunity, and Winks could have done nothing more to grab such a chance as he did on Saturday. Winks is a Premier League quality player right now. The suspicion was there before the weekend that this was indeed the case. There can be no doubt now.
Where Winks provided the impetus and action in midfield, the other Harry was equally epic in his attacking contribution. 2 games, 3 goals since his return. 3 more derby goals in fact. Yes, two have been from the penalty spot. But still, there is a calmness and assurity that Kane brings to Spurs’ attack that has been missing. The man is a purely an expert goal scorer, in fact he is much more than that, but it is his most important trait. He just scores goals. Even in a team that is struggling, he finds a way. Limited clear cut opportunities, and two goals. The only option was conversion of the late penalty; the game was won with the ball coming off Harry Kane’s boot.
Spurs’ misery in front of goal during Kane’s absence looks absolutely and entirely a result of that absence. Vincent Janssen has proven, as Roberto Soldado did before him, that playing the role of Tottenham’s lone striker is one of the more challenging pursuits in the Premier League. These are two high quality strikers that (thus far in Janssen’s admittedly short stay) have simply been unable to influence, to make the most of their difficult and limited chances to get on the scoresheet. Kane however, refuses to be foiled or lose confidence when going a few games goalless, rather his hunger intensifies and his opportunistic and powerful self comes to the fore. There is no shame in this for Soldado and Janssen, for Kane is in a class of very few in the Premier League, Europe and globally.
Through Winks and Kane, Tottenham have two academy graduates at very different stages of their careers. But as Harry W develops and becomes more entrenched in Spurs’ first team, he looks to have every chance of succeeding like his namesake. It’s early days, but where Mason, Huddlestone and Livermore were solid midfielders, Winks has shown enough to indicate he could go well beyond them. Kane and Winks are most certainly two exciting Harrys of Spurs’ own making.