Despite helping his side go top of the Premier League with a win over city rivals Arsenal, Harry Kane faced criticism after the full-time whistle.
Kane captained his side to a 2-0 win over bitter rivals Arsenal. The England striker contributed with a goal and an assist during the game. That win saw his side go top and importantly Spurs went 11 points ahead of Arsenal.
However, it was a moment in stoppage time at the end of the game that had fans talking. The ball was in mid-air and both Arsenal defender Gabriel and Kane appeared to challenge for the ball. However, Gabriel jumped to win the header, with Kane ‘leaning’ into the Brazilian which resulted in the referee awarding a free-kick to Spurs.
With Kane backing out of the header and ‘leaning’ into Gabriel, the defender was forced to fall onto this back from a dangerous height. Thankfully, the defender was okay and did not suffer an injury but that is beside the point.
That moment saw rival fans finding other moments this season in which Kane has used that ‘tactic’. The first example was against West Ham where Kane leaned back into Aaron Creswell. The other was Kane leaning into Adam Lallana to win his side a penalty. Both of these players proceeded to land heavily onto the ground in positions that can lead to a serious injury.
How long before media darling Harry Kane breaks someone’s neck? He’ll probably get a penalty for it. It’s not even subtle. He looks beforehand. pic.twitter.com/LWIRN9PSgr
— JB™️ (@gunnerpunner) November 1, 2020
This isn’t just something that Harry Kane is doing on a pitch will be happening in leagues around the world also. However, being England and Spurs captain your actions on the pitch will always be scrutinised.
Interestingly, the charity Refsupportuk who provide advice to referees in this country have spoken out about the tactic. They took to Twitter to voice their opinion on Harry Kane’s ‘tactic’
This is an Interesting point. Like Jack Grealish and his socks, Ronaldo goal celebrations and a Cruyff turn, grassroots players will mimic what they see on TV. This however, is a dangerous Tactic that needs addressing. https://t.co/UcsVyhMvU4
— Refsupportuk (@refsupportuk) December 7, 2020
‘If’ this action was to go wrong then the injury suffered from the falling player could have various effects. The most serious of injuries would be a player landing on their head or neck as they fall.
How do we stop this?
This is where the referees and VAR need to come together to stop this before a serious injury occurs. VAR will need to check that both players have at least attempted to win to ball and have not ‘leaned’ or stayed stagnate under their opponent.
Another way would be using VAR to check the eye line of the player ‘leaning’ into their opponent. If their eyes are solely on the ball that would be deemed ok, but anything else would show no intent for the ball.
The punishment for this would be a yellow card for the severity of what can result from these types of fouls.