Harry Kane: What sets Bayern Munich striker apart? – DW – 09/30/2023

Harry Kane may have always been destined to be one of the world’s finest goal scorers.

The 30-year-old Englishman has started his Bundesliga adventure in blistering form in front of goal, carrying on where he left off in the Premier League.

But, Kane’s first-ever coach Dave Bricknell, from Ridgeway Rovers, an amateur club in northeast London, almost condemned the natural-born finisher to a life time between the goalposts.

“When Harry came for his trial with us at the age of 8, I asked for a volunteer to go in goal and he did,” Bricknell told DW.

“He was a very good goalkeeper for a boy that age and I thought I had found myself a goalkeeper, which was fantastic.”

“Then someone said to me: ‘he’s not a goalkeeper he plays on the pitch’, so we put him out on the pitch, and he scored lots of goals.”

Improvement still the ambition

Kane arrived at Bayern during the summer of 2023 as just the 28th English player to grace the German league.

As England captain and all-time leading goal scorer, the striker arrived to fanfare and accolade, with Thomas Tuchel aiming to fill the hole left at the top of the field for the Bundesliga champions following Robert Lewandowski’s move to Barcelona in 2022.

Though a move to a European club is a rare for English players, the pull of competing for the Champions League consistently was too hard to turn down.

“I’ve said from day one I never want to stop improving,” he told the DFL. “Coming to a club like Bayern Munich, I feel like I’ve challenged myself to get even better. 

“If I want to be winning Champions Leagues, if I want to be winning league titles every year, this is the place I need to show that.”

“I’m fully confident that this is the best thing for me in my career and the best thing for Bayern Munich. I’m excited to show everyone even another level that I can go to.”

A fresh challenge more important than titles

Suggestions that the move to a side that clinched their 11th consecutive league title in 2023, were only to fill Kane’s empty trophy cabinet were summarily dismissed by the man himself.

Harry Kane, wearing a white Tottenham Hotspur shirt, holds up both of his fist
Harry Kane scored 213 Premier League goals for Tottenham HotspurImage: John Walton/PA Images/IMAGO

“People talk a lot about trophies but for me it is to always improve,” he explained. “Of course, I want to win, I wanted to win every year when I was at Tottenham.”


“I’ve never gone into a season not trying to win the trophies. It hasn’t quite happened for me yet, but I’ve got plenty of years to try and achieve that.”

“To be at a club like Bayern Munich the pressure is a lot higher, and you have to make sure you are winning titles, you have to make sure you are getting far in the Champions League otherwise you have failed.”

“That’s an experience I wanted to feel, that’s a pressure I wanted to feel and that’s ultimately why I’ve come.”

A long and winding road to success

Kane’s path to becoming one of the most lethal strikers of his generation was not completely straightforward as he struggled to break into the first team at Tottenham.

Despite signing his first senior contract with Spurs in July 2010, he was sent out on various loans to Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester City between 2011-2013.

For former teammate Jermain Defoe, Kane’s mental strength to weather disappointment in his early part of his career was a trait that impressed him.

Harry Kane in and white England shirt, has his mouth opening yelling as he looks to the right
Harry Kane is England’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 59 goalsImage: Dave Thompson/AP/picture alliance

“You have to show a resilience,” Defoe told DW. “it’s not easy when you go out on loan, it can feel like you’re being rejected by the club that you are at – which isn’t the case. 

“You have to be mentally strong, and Harry deserves a lot of credit for what he went through and to go on and become the player he has.

“When he joined up with the (Tottenham) first team, you could see the potential. He was always a good finisher, always hit the ball clean.” 

“I remember having a conversation with (goalkeeper) Brad Friedel, around the time I was coming to the end of my contract, and said ‘When I leave, I think Harry will be the one to go on and score a lot of goals.'”

“I could see in training how he could finish; he was hungry to score goals. Sometimes younger players come over to the first team and their game changes a little bit. 

“With Harry you already knew, he had that natural instinct and always felt comfortable in front of goal.”

Kane’s menality a step above 

In October 2022, the striker launched the Harry Kane Foundation (HKF) with a long-term goal of helping to transform a generation’s thinking about mental health.

This came as no surprise to Bricknell, who praised his former pupil’s mental strength and overall mentality for turning him into a clinical finisher.

Harry Kane murial at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium
A murial was erected outside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after Harry Kane over took Jimmy Greaves as the club’s all-time leading goalscorerImage: John Walton/PA Images/IMAGO

“Harry’s mentality is his greatest strength,” Bricknell added. “He doesn’t let anything worry him. If he misses a chance, he doesn’t care he will go and score from another chance. 

“In England, everyone said he would be a one season wonder and a tap-in merchant. But he scores with left and right foot, he rolls players, takes players deep, scores from outside the box, tap-ins, headers, even world-class goals. He really is a complete striker.”

“Harry has shown what is possible. There are a lot of talented boys but the difference is the mindset and Harry’s mindset was always the best.”

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