Ahead of this weekend’s crucial trip to Anfield former Spurs and England star Darren Anderton has spoken of his huge admiration for Harry Kane, insisting that the goal-machine is well on his way to becoming the Premier League’s greatest ever forward.
“I’ve had conversations with Teddy (Sheringham) about this and we think he’s got that little bit of everything. Alan Shearer was an out-and-out centre forward who scored goals and bullied defenders.
"Harry does all that and then he also comes into midfield at times and links play. Or he’ll go wide. So he has a little bit of Teddy as well. For me he’s got the potential to be better than Shearer, I mean he really is that good. He does it all and there isn’t a flaw in his game.”
Considering the 25 year old’s phenomenal goal-scoring record it is difficult to disagree but does that elite ability also bring concerns for a club that has found silverware hard to come by in recent years, namely that they might eventually lose him? Anderton insists that is not the case.
“Of course there are always going to be worries with a player of that calibre because other clubs will want him but I’m more than confident that Harry will want to stay with Spurs and achieve everything he wants to achieve at Spurs.”
Rumours were also circulating recently on the imminent future of another influential figure in North London but with Real Madrid and Manchester United both seemingly set on other options it’s looking increasingly likely that Mauricio Pochettino will remain in situ next term. Anderton certainly thinks so and explains why with a broad smile.
“I hope Pochettino will still be there next season and if you ask me for my opinion, yes I think he will be. I’d be absolutely delighted because he has been so good for the football club. He’s a great guy who cares. He wants to be part of the process.
"He loves it here and he loves working with the sort of players that Tottenham has. It’s meant that the club has gone from strength to strength and everybody is happy and the new stadium just adds to that. So for me it would be a great shock if Pochettino now decided it was time to move on.”
Ah, the new stadium. The highly impressive edifice has been a long time coming but now that it’s finally fit for purpose what does the 30-cap international and beloved son of the Lane make of it and is there a danger that moving so late in the season might disrupt Tottenham’s top four chase?
“I was there a while back watching parts of the stadium being built and I went to a Super Bowl event at the end of January and it’s out of this world. It certainly makes you want to put your boots back on.”
“You’d like to think that the feeling will be so positive (but) it’s very important how they start there. They need to get that first win as soon as they can and build that belief that it’s home again.”
It’s a win that Spurs need full-stop right now after enduring a poor run of results prior to the international break and finding themselves embroiled in a fierce scrap for Champions League qualification.
Furthermore it’s a dip that’s prompted many to ask once again why Spurs always seem to fall away when greatness beckons. Are they short of one more fantastic player? Is the squad thin on like-for-like quality?
“It’s difficult to say what Spurs lack. I just think it comes down to mentality. When you’re one-nil up against Burnley or Southampton you don’t get beat. You make sure you win those games and not have any sloppiness.”
You also of course need your flair players to perform and perform well and in Christian Eriksen the Lilywhites have one of the best around. Indeed, as far as Anderton is concerned the Danish schemer is incomparable.
"There was a spell where Spurs supporters were concerned that he never seemed to do it in the big games but I never really bought into that. When Spurs are playing well it’s usually because he’s the one making things happen. His ability to make a pass makes him a world class talent and I love watching him play.”
The return from injury of Dele Alli also bodes well as Tottenham prepare for an extremely challenging few weeks that pits them against Liverpool this Sunday before taking on Manchester City in two competitions. Thankfully, the England midfielder is precisely the kind of big-game player who tends to rise to the occasion.
“When it matters he’ll come up with those important goals and make those runs. He’s such a clever player and plays with freedom and a touch of arrogance at times, which is nice from a top player because that’s what they have.
"He never gets fazed and no occasion is too big for him so it’s great to have him back. Alli can open up defences and provide that little bit of magic. You need that player at Spurs because teams do come and put ten men behind the ball and say ‘come and break us down’. You need real quality to do that.”
Not that City will set up so defensively as the pair meet for an enthralling two-legged Champions League quarter final in mid-April. The Blues are naturally favourites but there’s no getting around the fact that Tottenham are presently just three opponents away from immortality.
Has Anderton – whose love for the club stems from twelve successful years in the capital – found himself daring to think of what might be possible? He has.
“The thing about this Tottenham team is that they have the ability to beat anyone on their day. They went to Barcelona and got a point. Last year against Real Madrid they beat them 3-1 and that could have been six or seven.
"Harry Kane bullied Ramos and that was a joy to watch. This is now a knockout competition and that’s the reality of it so why not dream? I think we got the toughest draw probably because City are different class. I love Pep and could watch his sides all day long. But Spurs, with their attacking quality, can cause them problems.”
First though, there is the small matter of Anfield this week, and a ferocious exchange that could ultimately go a long way in deciding both the destination of the title and shape of the top four come May. How does the likeable former winger view what lies ahead?
“When I look at Liverpool I don’t see them being a better team than Spurs to be honest but they’ve done the business and got the points. They’re the one who is still up there.”
“It’s a tough one to call. I went to watch the game at Wembley earlier this season and Liverpool were by far the better team, no doubt about it they were different class and Spurs struggled to keep with them. But are they still at that level?
"Now, this weekend it could go either way with so much talent on display. There’s a great work ethic across both teams and it will be some battle. I’m looking forward to watching it, that’s for sure.”
Darren Anderton's Quickfire Questions:
Score Prediction For Liverpool vs Tottenham?
2-1 to Spurs.
First Goal Scorer?
Who Will Win The Premier League Title?
Who Will Win The Golden Boot?
Who Will Win The Champions League?