It’s no secret that Tottenham star Harry Kane used to be on the books with the Arsenal academy, but why did the Gunners let him go?
Today, Kane is one of the most prolific strikers in the league.
Despite the obvious disadvantage of playing for Spurs, the 24-year-old has still won the Golden Boot in the last two consecutive seasons, and is close behind in second place in the current standings.
But 16 years ago, Kane was playing for the other side of North London. The England international, then just eight years old, was at a team called Ridgeway Rovers. An Arsenal scout spotted the future Spurs man with the club, and decided to pick him up.
The striker spent a year with the Gunners’ academy, before being released. Then he had a trial with Tottenham, but at first he was rejected.
The youngster had to go back to Ridgeway Rovers for a spell, until Watford picked him up for a trial. Again, he was unsuccessful, but by this point Spurs decided to give him another chance, aged eleven, and the rest is history.
Clearly, the Gunners weren’t the only ones to have doubts at that early stage.
Kane says he thinks it’s because he was so small, as he explained (via the Standard): “It’s hard to tell at that age what the player is going to turn into. I was only small at that age. I was small for my age. I was a late developer.
“After that I went to Spurs when I was 11. It wasn’t like it took off straight from then, I still had to work hard. As I got older and older, I grew up a bit, caught up to the rest of the players my age and it went from there, really.”
The Telegraph write that Kane also wasn’t particularly quick back then, so despite his technical ability, there were always doubts about whether he’d ever make it at the top level.
The former Tottenham Academy director, Alex Inglethorpe, admitted as much to the paper, saying: “I first saw Harry when, as the under-18 coach, I would take the under-14s once a week. Harry would have been 13 at the time…he was still playing catch up with some of the group from a physical perspective.”
Clearly, it ended up working out for Kane and Spurs. But it seems like it was just a case of Arsenal (and Watford) looking at Kane at the wrong period in his development.
As Arsène Wenger said in 2015 (via The Guardian): “You are always a bit angry…I asked ‘Why did he go?’ But at that age, boys can move here and there”.
Much as we’d all like to point the finger at the person to blame, there’s not much more to it than that.