Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has vowed to make Harry Kane even better.
he England captain has found a new lease of life under the Italian after a dismal start to the season, scoring seven goals in his last 11 games in all competitions.
Kane’s poor form at the beginning of the campaign was down to a contribution of factors, including his summer exertion in Euro 2020 with England, the disappointment of seeing a move to Manchester City fall through and the tactics of former boss Nuno Espirito Santo, which totally nullified his goal threat.
However, he is looking back to his best under Conte and has credited the Italian with improving both his physical condition and the mindset around the club.
Conte has called the 28-year-old “world class” but wants to take him to a new level.
“Surely when you have a player like Harry, you have to try to involve him in your tactical idea of football,” Conte said.
“He’s an important player for us and he has to be a point of reference when we develop our football offensively.
“We’re trying to work with him in many aspects. I think every single player can improve until he decides to stop his career.
“We’re talking about a really good person who shows desire every day in training. He’s available for his team-mates and is always ready to speak about football, to improve and to see new tactical situations.
“I repeat: We’re talking about a world-class striker and I’m trying to help him to become also better and better. Me, my staff on the physical aspect are working – but not only with him, with all the team.
“To reduce the gap, it’s very important to improve every single player in many aspects.
“If this player is Kane we’re talking about a world-class striker, but it’s the same with (Dane) Scarlett. We have to improve every single player in this way to be more competitive as a team than before.”
Kane scored one goal in nine Premier League games under Nuno and also took a month under Conte to start firing.
But the Italian was never in any doubt about his striker’s quality.
“Honestly I wasn’t worried before in the past when he didn’t score a lot,” Conte said.
“Because his performance was always very, very high, he played very well in every game for the team, he worked a lot for the team and is a fantastic player for me.
“He’s not selfish but now that he’s scoring I’m happy for him and the team. Because if he scores we have more probability to get three points or go to the next round in a trophy competition.
“As I said to you before, in the past his performances were very, very, very positive for me, despite him not scoring a lot in the past.
“We’re talking about a world-class striker. He’s able to score in every game. We’ve also to try to help him to score.”
Kane will be hoping to continue his scoring streak against Southampton on Wednesday, but Spurs will be without Eric Dier, Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga.
Dier is still out with a recurring thigh injury which troubled him before the recent winter break.
Conte said: “He had the same problems that he had in the past before playing the last game against Chelsea. He had a little muscular problem in his thigh.
“It’s not serious but the problem is in the same place as the last time, so for this reason the doctors told me to be patient and not to take risks with him.
“It’s a pity because you know the importance of this player to us.”
On Skipp, who has a groin injury, Conte added: “Honestly I hope to have him back very soon. The medical department said to me two weeks but I hope to have him available in one week or 10 days maximum.
“For this reason I try to push my medical department because we need Skipp to be available. We’re talking about a good and important player for Tottenham.”