“It would be a massive ask to break Alan Shearer’s record but can he do it? Yes, why not? He has to keep playing in a team that is successful and steer clear of injuries, and there are so many other factors too. Obviously I’ve played with and against Al and he was such a strong character who just loved scoring goals, but I think Harry possibly has more to his game. Al could hold the ball up, he was a beast who knocked people around, but Harry Kane has a little bit more.”
“Being a wide man your job is to create half a yard and get the ball into the box, so I’d have loved to have played with Harry. I’ve played with Teddy and Jurgen Klinsmann and there are definitely similarities with him and those two.”
After yet another impressive goal-haul this season, Kane has again showed his importance to the North London giants and Anderton – a firm fan favourite himself at the Lane for twelve years – is certain that rumours of a possible big-money departure this summer are very much wide of the mark.
“I would certainly like to think Harry Kane will stay at Spurs for his whole career, but there will be plenty of offers for him over the years. That will be hard for Tottenham to turn down and for Harry himself and maybe his head will get turned a bit. But he is a genuine, grounded loyal lad who wants to do well for the club he’s with and, if things stay as they are, I don’t think Harry will want to go anywhere else. The new stadium is coming and a group of players have come through together who all seem to get on well. He has a manager who gets the best out of his players and, at the moment, things are as rosy as they can be without winning the league. He could earn a lot more money at other places but he doesn’t seem to be guided by money”.
Another superstar Spurs will be desperate to tie down for the long-term is Dele Alli, especially after a sensational season that has seen the youngster compared favourably to the very best midfielders in the modern era. It is fair to say Anderton is an admirer.
“Who knows what Dele Alii would cost now. I don’t think you could put a price on him. He’s that good and that young and for me he does it all. People talk about his temperament but you can’t really take that away from him, that’s his edge. I think he’s actually curbed that as well this season and so what can you say that he’s done badly this season? He has done it all.”
“I’ve got to say that I loved Stevie G as a player, and Scholesy, but Dele Alli for his age is just a freak of a talent. I love his arrogance on the pitch, how clever he is into finding the positions that he does and his willingness to try everything. He is a real joy to watch.”
That sentiment could be broadened to include the rest of his team-mates who have thrilled Spurs supporters and neutrals alike this term with a string of highly impressive performances. That is until injuries strike.
“I remember watching them sometime in March and thinking ‘If this eleven stay fit they win the league’. Then Vertonghen got injured and for me the squad needs strengthening. They need another striker to back up Harry because it’s probably fair to say that the manager doesn’t trust Janssen one hundred percent, but in terms of a first eleven, there isn’t a lot that I would change.”
“Chelsea’s first team is obviously great and in Hazard they have a match-winner on his own who can create a piece of magic, but when the two teams put out their first eleven, I’d be happy to put Spurs up against them.”
Much of their success under Pochettino has been driven by a midfield trio, whose versatility and collective attributes are a constant problem for opponents. The 30-cap England international insists it’s the perfect blend.
“They are a real pleasure to watch and I love them all as players. Eriksen has so much quality. When teams come to Tottenham and sit deep it’s so often Eriksen’s final ball that opens them up. Dembele is a free spirit and you can give him the ball wherever you like and he’ll just ghost past people. With Alli, too they’re all very different players but not a bad three to have with a really lovely balance.”
If this all sounds too good to be true, then of course Spurs’ failure so far to secure silverware under the Argentinean coach has led to concerns that this very good team might ultimately be regarded as ‘nearly men’. Is there a danger of them not fulfilling their immense promise?
“I don’t think they will historically be remembered as being nearly men, but there comes a point where people have to stop talking about the potential of this Tottenham team and they start winning things. That was why the FA Cup was so massively disappointing against Chelsea. It’s now been two great seasons but you have to start winning.”
Another potential cloud on the horizon hovers over their new temporary home next year, as White Hart Lane undergoes a significant overhaul. After reminiscing on his most treasured memories in N17 (“The atmosphere under the lights for night games was just very, very special”), Anderton admits the situation is far from ideal.
“They’re playing at Wembley and that’s going to be difficult. Any player loves playing at Wembley so it’s not a daunting place for away teams. That is going to make it tough. They have to find a confidence and a belief from playing there, and that’s going to be the biggest thing for Tottenham.”
Darren Anderton’s quickfire questions
Score prediction for Spurs v Manchester United
2-0 to Spurs
Who will win the Champions League final?
Premier League leading goal-scorer
I’m going to go for Costa