Russell Martin could see the quality of Harry Kane even during tough Norwich City loan spell
Harry Kane’s difficulties during a loan spell at Norwich City are well documented, but Russell Martin says then it was clear there was a good footballer struggling to get out.
The Spurs and England striker was brought to Carrow Road by then manager Chris Hughton in August 2012, on a season-long loan: a metatarsal injury and shortage of strikers at White Hart Lane meant he was recalled four months early.
He started just one league game and was a sub in two others, failing to score, and will perhaps be best remembered for an incident during the goalless draw at home to West Ham when, with only the keeper to beat, he shot tamely wide.
But how times have changed: Kane has just won the Golden Boot for the second season running and is England’s first choice striker.
Martin and Kane will be up close and personal next weekend when Scotland face England in Glasgow – and the City skipper knows what to expect.
“I don’t think any of us could have foreseen what he’s gone on to achieve,” said Martin. “Harry didn’t have the impact he would have liked at our place. He didn’t really have a chance to be honest.
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“He came in and it was different playing for us in the Premier League – and he was only young.
“It’s difficult for a young striker to come in and make an impact and he only made one league start.
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“But while he’s gone on to exceed expectations, we knew he was a good player. In training we certainly saw glimpses of what we had. He is one of the best finishers I’ve seen. He’d been on loan a lot of times and it was just a case getting settled and working on the physical side.
“He’s a better athlete than he was back then and looks bigger, stronger and more powerful. I can’t speak highly enough of him as a lad and he deserves everything he gets.
“I don’t know what he’s like now but he was a quiet lad around the group back then but we had no problems with him at all.
“When we had days off he would go back and see his family. I saw him at the PFA dinner last year when he won an award and the biggest compliment most people pay him is that he won’t change.
“He’ll still be humble and that’s why he’ll have a great career over a long period of time. Nobody can argue with what he’s done and his form over the last two years has been world class.
“In football, confidence is huge and his manager has backed him. He wants him to be the focal point. I’ve come up against him a few times at Spurs and he scored last season – but I was at full back in that game!
“He was on the bench when we played them at Wembley but I think he was just coming back from injury and hadn’t played at Spurs.
“But he is great for Tottenham and England now and I’d imagine he will be one of a lot of players we’ll have to stop. Look at Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli, they’re all regulars at top clubs.”