So England suddenly start playing like worldbeaters as soon as four Spurs players are together on the pitch. COINCIDENCE?!!? Well, yeah, it probably was…but it was grand to see.
This is one of the things I love about football. The number of words in any given week about any given match devoted to analysis and predictions, and I include myself in this of course, confounded by reality. Come on, we love those four, they’re four of our own and no one else can say a bad word about them, but Kane aside, would you have picked Townsend, Mason and Walker for this international? I wouldn’t. Yet look what happened and I’m pleased as punch for them.
I went through my usual routine for England games, tried and tested over many years now. Spent the day telling myself and others that I wasn’t that bothered and probably wouldn’t watch it, watched it, berated myself for watching it, as the second half looked like being the same old story noodled around on the computer…and then looked up to see Andros light the blue touchpaper and send a rocket into the corner. Then he runs 60 yards, powerful, direct, down the left, defenders nowhere near him. This from a player whose contribution to Spurs’ season so far has been to look a bit worried sometimes.
Cue more analysis. ‘Andros Townsend, he plays on the left..’ COINCIDENCE?!!? Done that one already…but Tottenham On My Mind has been advocating he plays on the left for at least two years. I hope it does him a power of good. He knows he’s not playing well and he does not have a smart enough football mind to know what to do to put it right. Against Italy, he released his pent-up instincts, played a natural game and just flew.
Kane is a hero and the rest of football is catching up with what Spurs fans have known for some time now. Fresh, clean-cut, down to earth on and off the pitch, it’s a story that will run and run, although I’m sure the Mail are even as I type hatching a plot to hack his phone and expose the shocking truth that Harry once had a hair out of place.
Kane makes the headlines but the real story is the rise of Ryan Mason from nowhere via a successful US summer tour to the England midfield. We have begun to accept that the loan system can develop players for the first team and not be a precursor to a free-transfer and a career in the lower leagues. Yet Mason was a perpetual loanee and an unsuccessful one at that. Partly this was due to injuries but the promise that I saw fleetingly when he was in his late teens seemed destined to be unfulfilled. It is nothing less than remarkable, much of it achieved by guts and a bloody-minded refusal to give up on playing for the navy blue and white. Well played, sir, well played, and I’m delighted I could watch it happen.
And so to a parlour game beloved of Spurs fans everywhere – pick a ‘Best Of..’ XI. What is your best ever Spurs team made up of homegrown players. Yes I know I could write a whole blog about the defintion of home-grown but let’s just get on with it. It’s a Bank Holiday, what else have you got to do and it will keep you out of B&Q.
Chris Kaufmann got this going. Here’s what he says, and sincere thanks to him for getting touch:
“With the emergence of Hurricane Harry Kane at the Lane, I fell to musing about my best ever home-produced Tottenham team since I first viewed the Lillywhites in the mid 1950s. Here it is:
Ted (the Cat) Ditchburn (league champion), Joe Kinnear, Ron Henry (Double Winner), Sol Campbell, Ledley King, Steve Perryman, Glenn Hoddle, Tommy Harmer (the Charmer), Harry Kane, Nick Barmby, Jimmy Neighbour
Subs, Ian Walker, Chrissie Hughton, Phil Beal, Micky Hazard, Mark Falco, Terry Dyson, Len (the Duke) Duquemin
A number of home produced players went on to do great things at other clubs. Players like Graham Souness, Kerry Dixon, Keith Weller and Terry Gibson. But my team strutted their best stuff at White Hart Lane”
So can you do better? Dream CB pairing of King and ‘ahem’ Campbell? Kane good enough to be up front? I was a big fan of Phil Beal, very unlucky not to play for England so I might slip him in at full-back. And I once saw Jimmy Neighbour run up to take a corner and instead kick the corner flag so it broke in half. No place for Stuart Nethercott or Guy Butters? And who is your all-time favourite? Clue: the answer is Steve Perryman.