Younes Kaboul and John O’Shea? The perfect firing fodder for an England marksman to open his account for the season, writes Alex Keble...
The hyperbolic back-page spreads detailing Harry Kane’s seven-match “dry spell” reflect both the media’s obsession with number crunching a striker’s contribution, and their misunderstanding of a complex role in modern football.
Kane’s goals against San Marino and Switzerland have at least alleviated some of the mounting pressure, while a trip to Sunderland – where chaos reigns at the heart of defence – provides the England international with an excellent opportunity to silence his critics.
Kane’s tireless movement and intricate link-up play are wildly underrated aspects of his game, and indeed his composed creativity has continued to flourish this season (2 key passes, 2.3 dribbles per match). In truth, his goalscoring dearth is the result of Tottenham’s creative deficiencies in attacking midfield and the perpetual narrowness of the supporting three.
If Sunderland anticipate facing a weakened Kane, they will be in for a huge shock. The chaotic, zigzag defensive lines of Sunderland have been truly dazzling to witness, and although the barked orders of a perplexed Dick Advocaat have gaffer-taped the back four together, they remain frighteningly vulnerable.
Since both Younes Kaboul and John O’Shea lack the speed and agility required to prevent Kane from skipping and darting between them, Sunderland may be in for another disappointing day.