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Why Harry Kane Must Win the Premier League Young Player of the Year Award

Published by Bleacher Report on Fri, 13 Feb 2015

Tottenham's golden boy Harry Kane must win the PFA Young Player of the Year award because he has simply been the best young player in England this season.There is no need for overwrought justifications. No attempts to disqualify other candidates or narrow the definition of the award.Kane has been brilliant since the opening day of the season when he laid on the winning goal for Eric Dier against West Ham.He had to fight for his place and prove himself, first as a Premier League substitute and then as a starter in the Europa League.Mauricio Pochettino was hesitant at first, reluctant to drop his senior strikers in favour of the 21-year-old but eventually he could resist no longer.His first start came in a miserable 2-1 defeat against Stoke but he has averaged almost a goal a game since.The nominations for this award are not due to be published for several months but Kane can fully expect to see his name amongst them.Kane has already accrued a remarkable 23 goals this season. This award is officially limited to the Premier League but his exploits in the League Cup and Europa League will presumably influence the voters somewhat.Harry Kane has been among the finest players in England this season. His form was impressive in autumn as he racked up goals in the Europa League. It has exploded since then.Even in the league, Kane now has 13 goals. That is more than any other English player and Saido Berahino, one week his junior, is the only player born after 1992 with more than six. Berahino will surely join Kane as a nominee but his 10 goals for the Baggies are fewer and less significant than Kane's.The purpose of this award has been questioned in the past.In 2013, the award was bestowed upon Belgium and Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard. Then 23 and already one of the Premier League's best players, Hazard technically qualified but it seemed odd to recognise such an established player in this way.The reigning Young Player of the Year has had another fine season but he has only equalled his usual standards, not exceeded them.Former Tottenham owner Alan Sugar (honorific omitted) describes the appeal of Kane in simple terms, "young boy, from local area, loves his club and now become key player."England manager Roy Hodgson admitted that he plans to call Kane into the senior squad while Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate claimed to be "unsurprised" by his rapid progress.West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster warned against expecting too much of players like Kane and his Baggies teammate Saido Berahino, saying "the pressure on him is incredible. I know he is scoring goals, it's just too much sometimes.Everyone needs to take a step back and let them do their thing."Kane has revelled in that pressure but the Young Player of the Year award would justify it in much the same way that his goals have done.Were he to win the award, as he undeniably should, Kane would intriguingly become the third Spurs player in four years to do so.If this award is determined by moments of brilliance, spearheading the dual derby demolitions of Arsenal and Chelsea within a month should be enough to seal it for Kane. Perhaps the voters are more impressed by a narrative; no player in Europe has enjoyed a more compelling rise to stardom this season. Maybe those voting members of the PFA prefer consistency; even in defeat Kane has left his mark but more often he has lifted his team to victory.Kane is a phenomenal talent but for those who don't watch him often, it can be difficult to determine exactly what sets him apart.His footballing brain has been apparent since he entered the first team under Tim Sherwood. When Spurs beat Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2014, Kane played an important role as a substitute, using his maturity to slow the game down and allow Spurs to retain control.Southgate, Pochettino and former Spurs boss Sherwood have all praised Kane's work ethic and desire to improve.His trademark goal, a shot ripped low across goal into the bottom corner, is testament to that hard work. Kane is driven to grow and improve. In combination with his footballing brain, that drive has made Kane a Premier League star.ESPN's Craig Burley urged caution in anointing Kane as the successor to Alan Shearer, suggesting that he must deliver over a longer period of time, and he is right.Kane may not fulfill his potential and carve out a long career in England's top division but this season he has been unquestionably the best young player and simply must win this award.
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