We caught up with Spurs talisman Harry Kane to chat about his foray into fatherhood (and kicking a ball, of course).
Harry Kane has enjoyed a phenomenal few years of playing football since his breakthrough during the 2014/15 Premier League season.
Back then, he banged in over 30 goals in all competitions. Now, the 24-year-old Spurs and England talisman is lauded as one of the most potent strikers in the world by fans, pundits and players alike. “The past few seasons have been a dream come true for me,” he tells FQ. “I’m extremely proud of what people say about me, but at the same time I’m not getting ahead of myself. I’m still young, still hungry to learn and improve in training every day.”
While you might expect younger Premiership players to frivolously parade such fresh fame and money about, Kane bucks the trend as a dedicated family man. In January of this year his fiancée and childhood sweetheart, Katie Goodland, gave birth to their first child, Ivy Jane Kane.
Asked how he manages to juggle work and home life, he says: “I try to be a hands-on dad as much as I can. Of course, I spend a lot of time at the training ground and travelling with the team. But it really is a team effort between me and my partner, sharing the load as much as possible. I really enjoy doing it.”
The “life-changing experience” of the day his daughter was born has shifted his outlook: “It gives you a different focus in life and puts everything in perspective. You find that you are no longer your priority. Your first thought every day is of your family and everything that I ultimately do is for her. It’s a special feeling.”
But any sleepless nights up with a baby since don’t appear to have affected his focus on the pitch. Last season Kane won the Golden Boot award (to pair up with the one he bagged the previous season) and he continues to score goals for both club and country like a man possessed.
He isn’t fazed by leaving White Hart Lane either, while Spurs’s new stadium is being built, and setting up temporary camp in Wembley Stadium. “It was sad to see White Hart Lane go but we gave it the perfect send-off by being unbeaten there last season. Playing at Wembley is like our second home anyway – especially for the England boys. So to get the chance to be there all season is something everyone will enjoy, including the thousands of fans who come along to watch us.”
Every football fan’s dream
Yet despite taking Ivy on the pitch for a round of farewells after Spurs’s final match at White Hart Lane, he’s not quite ready to watch a game with her. “I think it’s every football fan’s dream the first time they get to watch a game with their son or daughter. But I’m hoping to be playing for quite a while yet so it might be a few years before we get to do that!”
Kane is symbolic of how being involved in sport at an early age can reap later benefits. He was spotted when he was eight and playing for Ridgeway Rovers – a youth club both David Beckham and Andros Townsend played for – before eventually joining the Tottenham Hotspurs Academy in July 2009, aged 15.
However, he’s alert to the undue pressure that children can fall under to succeed. “I think sport is a great way for kids to make new friends and stay fit and healthy. Although it is important, it should be all about enjoyment early on. They shouldn’t be introduced to it with a view to it becoming a profession.” Likewise, his advice to dads hoping to foster a love of sport in their children is one of mellow encouragement. “I don’t think it’s something you can force or even have to foster. If they do find a passion for a certain sport, it will just come naturally. Then you can support whatever they want to do.”
His dad instilled a strong work ethic in him, telling him to believe in his ability, at an early age. It’s something he says has helped carry him through to today, where last month he netted his 100th club career goal and counting for Spurs. To put it into deadly-footballing context, he was 12 games quicker than Thierry Henry in reaching that milestone.
Will Kane be passing on his paternal knowledge and teaching his daughter football? “We’re not quite at that stage yet, but I’ll let her decide when she’s old enough. You never know, though – she might inherit some footballing genes!”
If Ivy’s anything like her dad when it comes to kicking a ball, the future’s looking golden for English football.
This article was first published in our autumn ’17 issue.