Joleon Lescott column: Harry can Kane the happy Hammers

Joleon Lescott
LiveScore
Harry Kane has rediscovered his scoring boots in recent weeks
Harry Kane has rediscovered his scoring boots in recent weeks

It’s a bit of a funny one this weekend with just four Premier League games on the agenda alongside the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Tottenham and West Ham’s clash on Sunday is the pick of the top-flight games and all eyes will be on Harry Kane.

The England skipper is back to his best in front of goal, which has at least temporarily quietened the debate on him dropping deep too often.

For me, his willingness to get on the ball and link play is just him showing his fantastic all-round ability. And he can get away with it at Spurs.

His movement and passing range are key to creating chances for other team-mates, such as Heung-Min Son, who is able to tuck them away.

I’m sure Harry would love to be on the end of his own through balls and crosses sometimes. But as long as someone is scoring, Spurs seem content.

However, for England — or at another club, for that matter — there’s always going to be more scrutiny.

Strikers with his level of finishing ability are judged on their goal return and that starts with taking up the correct positions.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a prime example of someone who adapted their game to be an out-and-out goalscorer — but I actually think Kane may end up moving backwards with time.

He’s never been a forward reliant on having the highest leap or the quickest sprint. His intelligence, vision and movement are some of his strongest traits.

It makes me think he could end up moving into an attacking midfield role in later years, not too dissimilar to Wayne Rooney.

Harry Kane is as much a creative force as a lethal finisher for Tottenham
Harry Kane is as much a creative force as a lethal finisher for Tottenham

With reports linking Erling Haaland to Manchester City, it may be that Kane has missed the boat on a move to the Etihad.

Manchester United are one club I could see trying to lure him away in summer — and I think he’d consider that very strongly.

For all their faults, United are closer to winning trophies than Spurs right now. Not the Premier League, but knockout competitions. You could see them winning an FA Cup or Carabao Cup.

Somewhere like a Real Madrid or Bayern Munich would also be a good fit. But with Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski as good as ever this season, I’m not sure those are viable options.

It would make sense for United to try for him. And if circumstances are right, it’s one I could see happening.

Have-a-go Hammers

West Ham boss David Moyes may be tempted to go on the front foot against Tottenham
West Ham boss David Moyes may be tempted to go on the front foot against Tottenham

Given their struggles against some of the division’s stronger sides on the road, I’m intrigued to see how West Ham approach this game after their Europa League exploits.

They’ve drawn blanks against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Wolves away from home this season — but David Moyes will surely fancy having a go at Spurs. 

However, changing to a more attacking style of play is trickier than it sounds.

Declan Rice is their best player, so logic suggests getting him further forward in a more creative role, which he’s more than capable of doing.

Yet moving such a pivotal component could upset the balance — especially for a team like West Ham, who are so comfortable and confident in their approach.

While the top four is starting to look like a bit of a stretch, a top-six spot would still represent a great campaign in East London. 

Even sneaking into the Europa Conference League would not be a disaster because I can guarantee they would play to win it.

We saw Spurs not take that competition particularly seriously earlier this season. But Moysey knows the precious memories that European nights make for supporters.

The downside to finishing seventh would be that keeping hold of Rice may become extremely challenging — though he’s not the only one who could be in demand.

I’ve been really impressed with Ben Johnson this season. Comfortable across the backline, the 22-year-old defender has a bright future.

Joleon Lescott has been impressed by young West Ham defender Ben Johnson
Joleon Lescott has been impressed by young West Ham defender Ben Johnson

It may be a case of him needing to nail down a position and make it his own before teams higher up take serious notice — I know myself that being versatile can sometimes be to your detriment.

He’s one of the very few modern defenders who can go forward but seems to enjoy defending more. I can see big things for him down the line.

Anyway, time for some predictions!

Joleon Lescott’s Premier League Matchday 30 predictions

Wolves vs Leeds (Friday, 8pm, Sky Sports)

Though Leeds will be underdogs heading to Molineux, I have a slightly anxious feeling about how this game may pan out. 

Wolves’ compact style could easily play into the hands of the visitors. And while I think the home side’s extra quality should see them through, I’m far from confident.

Prediction: Home win

Aston Villa vs Arsenal (Saturday, 12.30pm, BT Sport)

Mikel Arteta will hope Arsenal can get back to winning ways at Aston Villa
Mikel Arteta will hope Arsenal can get back to winning ways at Aston Villa

Arsenal will have been disappointed to come unstuck against Liverpool but there’s no shame in losing to Jurgen Klopp’s men — and now they need to bounce back.

I think this will be tough for them. Knowing Steven Gerrard, he’ll want his side to show they’re closer to the Gunners than most people think, so I expect a big performance from Aston Villa.

Prediction: Home win

Leicester vs Brentford (Sunday, 2pm)

Brentford’s back-to-back wins were huge. The timing of them, combined with who they came against, should be enough to see them push on and stay safe. 

But I have to go for Leicester here. While it’s been a season to forget, they’ve been better at home recently and I think they have too much quality for the Bees.

Prediction: Home win

Tottenham vs West Ham (Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports)

After all I’ve said above, I’m struggling to call this one. It was an absolute cracker in North London last season when Manuel Lanzini scored that memorable equaliser.

Spurs are so unreliable that I struggle to pick them with any confidence. But in a close-run contest, home advantage might just see them over the line.

Prediction: Home win

Joleon Lescott was talking to Matthew Hill

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Premier LeagueArsenalAston VillaBrentfordLeeds UnitedLeicester CityTottenham HotspurWest Ham UnitedWolverhampton WanderersJoleon Lescott
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