LONDON (Reuters) - Having failed to deliver against the top teams at times this season, Harry Kane’s recent performances have silenced lingering doubts about his status as one of the world’s best strikers.
Although the goals have continued to flow for Kane, his record against the Premier League big boys has remained the only major blot on the copybook.
Kane failed to score at Arsenal and Manchester City and at home to Chelsea this season, mustering just six shots on target in those three games
Ahead of a tough run of fixtures against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal within two weeks, Spurs needed their talisman to produce the goods to keep them in the running for a top-four finish.
And, right on cue, Kane produced three very different, but vitally important displays.
Against United at Wembley, he did everything but score, peppering the visitors’ goal with eight shots. Many would have let their heads drop as chance after chance went begging, but Kane kept coming, ensuring United were constantly on the back foot.
The England international passed the mental strength test at Liverpool last week.
After missing one penalty, Kane stepped up to take another deep into stoppage-time to earn his side a 2-2 draw with the coollest of spot-kicks. Coming into the north London derby at Wembley, it was imperative for Tottenham to maintain their recent good form, but they laboured in the first half.
Kane, however, lifted his side with an expertly-taken header out of nothing, shifting the tide firmly in Tottenham’s favour when they needed it most and they went on to win the game 1-0.
“I have been repeating for three years he is one of the best strikers in the world,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said.
His Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger agreed.
“A super striker,” Wenger said. “One of the best in the world who scores against everybody.”
The best forwards are often judged by their record against other top sides.
Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku receives criticism for his poor goal return against major rivals and although Kane’s record is much better, his ineffectiveness against Chelsea, City and Arsenal revived criticism that he can disappear on the big occasion.
After leading Spurs to seven points from three games against their nearest rivals, however, there can be no doubt that Kane is among the very best all-round strikers.
Editing by Ed Osmond