Leaders

 

I loved everything about our 4-0 win over Newcastle in the cup. Loved how perfectly normal it all felt. We got treated to the good life away from all the troubles and problems we've had to endure for most of the season. An entertaining game, decent football and none of the negativity that some treasure more than the desire for positives.

We got given an accomplished performance by Mauricio Pochettino's rotated side. So what if Alan Pardew's men were depleted. We made changes too but also retained key players in key positions. We played without nervous disposition. Yes, the defending was still a touch inviting and the visitors missed a couple of sitters. We've had similar 'mares in front of goal this season. Where Newcastle failed we succeeded.

Loving Harry Kane's metamorphosis. Uncorrupted by ego, completely focused to be the best he can be, our academy forward is another one of our grand accidents. He's not meant to be our leading man. From understudy to star attraction, yet this is hardly an inclusion of a Gary Doherty. Kane has slowly crawled into our conciousness before soaring away to dizzying effect.

Other kids have been promoted in recent years and having made their way into the first team before moving on because they failed to make the cut in amongst high profile high performing players. A mixture of not making the grade and perhaps not ever being in a position long enough where making the grade was a tangible possibility.

For so long I didn't think Kane had the ability to fit in. Then after we got treated to players and systems that appeared ill-fated he's been given the chance which he's taken. Or rather he's crafted the chance into one that has gone beyond a substitute appearance as third choice.

Kane was unexpected. The grade at Spurs was no longer evident meaning anyone that wished to redefine it could. And he has. You might prefer to see this as a case of him only looking good because of the lack of quality we should have ahead of him, but reality would like to ask you to 'wake the **** up'. Sometimes, things happen for a reason. Imagine that. £100M spent just to allow Harry to break into the first team.

This isn't a case of desperation. Maybe it is considering the players we have and the players we signed. Then again what does it matter if you cost nothing or £20M? If you're grafting and you're producing then you have to be selected. Kane knows his limitations yet there he is, up top for Spurs, constantly wanting to take the limelight and responsibility. Not because of fame and vanity but because he believes in himself and wants us to believe in him. It probably does matter that a youth product is considered the better choice than the £20M striker signed, from the perspective of money spent. Every big signing is a risk, a gamble some work instantly and others never work out. Every promoted academy player is usually a future Championship club transfer signing. Some work, some don't. If Soldado worked we probably wouldn't be talking about Kane.

He might not be polished with his touch or have the silky skills of a continental (£20M signings excluded), but the lad is digging deep and is displaying progression both individually and as part of a unit. I don't care about whether he's the long term solution. So much of my time has been spent on projecting the future that I forget to enjoy the present.

The likes of Kane and Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb are breaking through and you can scream about their lack of experience or refined positioning and discipline but how else are they going to prove they can hack it if they don't start games? Those instant super-star signings failed to give us instant gratification and even more concerning is that some are still struggling to find their Premier League groove. The likes of  Erik Lamela might require more time but some of the others are being outplayed by the children of Hotspur Way.

Kudos to Poch, especially the way he initially managed the hype around Kane, holding him back whilst the player held himself back on the training pitch, practising and working hard to improve.

 

It's all good. Or at least it will be if we continue in the same vein against Burnley. The same tempo, directness and vision. The same confident finishing in front of goal.

Loved Kane's left-footed finish. Loved the way Bentaleb celebrated his first goal. Loved Nacer Chadli's industry to make something happen early in the second half. Absolutely adored Christian Eriksen's ball that split atoms on the way to Danny Rose. Loved that we got one over Pardew. Loved Michel Vorm's hair and concentrated patrolling of his pen box. Also loved the rare sighting of Andros Townsend getting some minutes in.

Poch, his methods his ethos, will continue to bed in. No doubt we'll stutter again and he'll need to lose players that can't fit in and replace them with ones that can. For all the youthful exuberance, it's tough to challenge at the same level and intensity as the clubs with fully fledged completed articles. We'll need more if we want to be stronger quicker. The 'we' here can be anyone or all of the coach, the board and the supporters.

I'm sticking with the present for the moment. If Poch can mould and develop our young academy players he might still change the identities of some of those expensive outcasts. Then again, the kids don't appear to carry any weight of expectancy on their shoulders. They are not distracted or disillusioned. They look free, expressive and most importantly proud to be wearing the shirt. That'll do.

How apt that having complained for so long that we had no leaders, we have the players we least expected leading by example.

Onwards. Sheffield United in the semi-final. COYS.