Football Features

Kane & Son: Spurs’ ‘businesslike’ strike partnership thriving within Mourinho blueprint

By Muhammad Butt

Kane and Son partnership: Spurs duo taking care of business | Squawka

Published: 16:24, 28 October 2020

Harry Kane and Heung-min Son have taken the Premier League by storm so far this season.

The duo have long been regarded as top quality but they have begun the 2020/21 campaign in such outrageously good form that even previous appraisals of how potent they are together have to be rewritten. In the Premier League so far this season, Son has the most goals (8) and Kane has the most assists (8). They are thriving under José Mourinho’s management.

This may seem confusing given how Mourinho’s spell at Manchester United ended, but it makes perfect sense. Mourinho is a limited coach, one who organises his teams defensively and then relies on top-class attacking players to sort themselves out in the final third of the pitch. This is why all his great teams had a world-class (or close to world-class) striker and usually a game-changing wing-forward too.

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Harry Kane’s Football Index value

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At Manchester United, Mourinho only had that forward for his debut season and never had the winger, which is why 2016/17 was the only season where he actually won anything and even then he finished sixth in the league. Once Zlatan Ibrahimovic went down, Mourinho didn’t have an alternative. He couldn’t develop Romelu Lukaku because he doesn’t do that, he needs his stars to be ready made and already operating at their peak and needing only the discipline and fitness he insists upon.

That is why Kane and Son are so perfect for him. Mauricio Pochettino already developed them into world-class talents, players capable of performing on the biggest of stages. All they needed was fitness and discipline and an organised defence and midfield behind them. Mourinho has provided them with that, and in turn they are proving to be the best tribute act to the Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo double-act we watched cut a swathe through La Liga under Mourinho at Madrid, and for many years after he left too.

Heung-min Son’s Football Index value

Kane is the ideal Mourinho centre-forward, a powerful striker capable of holding the ball up and linking play, with a ruthless streak and ceaseless desire to improve himself, but also selfless and team-oriented enough to not insist on being the primary goal threat if the game requires that. Very few other world-class strikers are happy to drop deep and play passes in behind for team-mates to score, but Kane is.

Looking like a hybrid of Ibrahimovic’s talent and Benzema’s attitude, Kane is a phenom. He has eight assists and five goals in the Premier League and is basically unplayable right now.

If he isn’t the best striker in the world right now, he’s certainly second only to Robert Lewandowski. This is the ascended level that Kane has been striving to reach ever since he began maturing beyond just a pure goalscorer. He’s permanently surrounded by hype and right now is more than living up to it.

Son, on the other hand, is one of world-football’s most underrated players. In the four seasons preceding this one he never scored less than 18 goals across all competitions. This season he has 10 already.

His season-high for league goals is 14, he already has eight. This is a player who, at 28 years of age, is taking his game to the next level much in the same way that Cristiano Ronaldo did.

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Son has pace, he has positioning, he can shoot from either foot and he is a ceaseless worker off the ball as well. You won’t catch the South Korean slacking in terms of his defensive workload, nor will you catch him standing around waiting for a pass.

He is always on the move, always finding space, and when he gets the ball in position to shoot he is doing what all great forwards do: shooting early. He doesn’t hang around and wait for the defenders to get settled, he lets fly as soon as he can and given the quality of his finishing, the ball is usually soaring in.

It’s obviously early to compare Kane & Son to Benzema and Cristiano, but the similarities – especially that both duos took it to the next level under Mourinho’s disciplined approach – are there to be made. We knew they were good, but now they’re great.

When it comes to scoring goals: Kane & Son are takin’ care of business. They are the Premier League’s dominant scorer and creator respectively, and have carried Tottenham to literally all 11 of their Premier League points. Just two of Spurs’ 16 goals were scored without Kane or Son’s direct involvement, and both of those came in the 1-6 rout of Manchester United, a game they would have won anyway.

These two world-class forwards are on a roll. With Mourinho’s defence behind them, Kane & Son’s attacking prowess is so good that they could genuinely lead Spurs on to glory this season.