Second season syndrome for Kane or back to best?

Second season syndrome for Kane or back to best?


Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Kane can go on to become one of the world’s greatest strikers, while former England forward, Stan Collymore, sees a season of disappointment for the 22-year-old, with Kane suffering from ‘second season syndrome’.

The Spurs boss has spoken in response to Manchester United’s rumoured interest in Kane. “He’s excited to start the season with us. Any doubts about his commitment are gone.”
Speaking of Kane’s potential the Argentine said “He can manage this pressure. He is young but he is very mature. He is in a very good way to become one of the best strikers in the world.”

However, Stan Collymore has a different view about Harry Kane. The former Liverpool and Aston Villa forward said “Harry Kane will have question marks against him. Second season syndrome strikes often in young players and I see a season of disappointment.”

As Spurs travel to Old Trafford to play Manchester United in the Premier League’s opening game on Saturday, Opta-powered fantasy football game Oulala have taken to the task of dissecting Kane’s debut season.

Kane began with a late winner at the beginning of November in a 2-1 away win at Villa Park. It was to become the first of 19 goals in 21 games up until March. The 22-year-old took the Premier League by storm in his first five months. He was scoring a goal, on average, every 99 minutes, a rate of almost a goal-a-game. His strike-rate was at an impressive 24%, hitting the back of the net for every four shots attempted and his accuracy, a respectable 61%.

However, as soon as April struck the striker’s form dipped. In his final 8 league games, Kane managed to find the net just twice, a drastic drop to a goal every 357 minutes. In the process, his strike-rate fell to just 7% with his accuracy also suffering, hitting the target only half of the time.

The dip in form that Kane suffered at the tail end of last season points heavily in Collymore’s favour. Many would point to tiredness. However, would Spurs have allowed Kane to join up with the Under-21s in the summer had he not been in the right physical condition?

Did ‘second season syndrome’ hit Harry Kane before his first season was even over? Have Premier League defenders finally worked him out?



  1. Erm, just NO! Stan hasn’t the foggiest what he’s talking about!

    . . . And, as for Harry’s apparent performance dip during April and May last season. Well, the entire team decided to give up (not that they were doing amazing before). But they completely shut down. I felt sorry for him.

  2. Second season syndrome is a real possibility, no one can say otherwise.

    I don’t for a minute think he is going to score 30 goals – no way – but he isn’t a one-trick poney, and had lots to his game. A key factor is that Pochettino has to play a less predictable way than last year. Don’t put money on that.

  3. It’s funny, so many focusing in on this possibility of a ‘second season syndrome’ attack, but no-one is considering he could improve 🙂

    It is fair enough to ask it. But if your only backing for asserting it will be so are some half-arsed stats and no analysis (Stan) maybe you should avoid definitive statements.

    I associate ‘one season syndrome’ with certain types of players. Ones who rely solely on pass, because once teams find a way to nullify it, they have nothing else. Ones who rely on some other lone individual talent (for the same reason). Ones who move from an outstanding season with a lower level club who are set up to play to maximise that, to a club higher up the pecking order with a wholly different way of playing.

    When I look at Harry Kane, I don’t see any of these issues. he doesn’t rely on pace. He can score with both feet and his head. he scores inside the area and outside it. He gets on the end of ‘team goals’ and scores solo efforts. He is hard working and very good at bringing others into play and setting up chances, so it isn’t like he is useless if he isn’t scoring. And he is constantly looking to improve rather than resting on his laurels.

    On top of which, there are other factors that suggest he will get plenty of chances. for a start, spurs spent most of last season playing without a recognised right-back (and the full-backs in Pochettino’s system play a very offence minded game. Walker was either injured or out of form. This season, is he is out or of form Trippier can play. And he was bought specifically because he provided more crosses/chances from the right than any other full-back in the division. Lamela is improving and was the highest provider of assists last season. Chadli and Eriksen were both devoid of genuine cover last season. This time around, players like Pritchard (has Collymore even hear of him? LoL) will be in the 1st team squad, are more suited to Pochettino’s system and so mroe likely to be adequate cover, and came through the ranks with Kane and so already have a good understanding with him.

    What the stats show is that he was tired, as SammySpur says, the team were very lacklustre in the period when his goals dried up, too. And all strikers have dips in form.

    Yes, it is possible that he could suffer ‘second season syndrome’. But I don’t believe any rational analysis suggests it is the more likely outcome. He could just as well benefit form the year’s experience, the head coach being one year further down the line, and better service (from sources suggested above),and have a better season than last. it is only fair that if you consider the one you should consider the other. Sadly, Mr Collymore’s analysis lacks this balance 🙂

    • I think that’s pretty well put SP. Harry Kane will continue to score because he is strike minded. The service he gets must come from a strong attacking midfield and wings and as you mentioned Rose and Trippier. If Spurs pull this off we are in for an exciting and glorious season. COYS!

  4. Thanks to his amazing debut season in the premier league, Harry Kane has quickly become regarded as one of the top strikers in England. He has a distinct way about how he plays, and can do everything- dribble,pass, shoot, but with some close analysis of his style of play, defenders of the opposing team can be taught how to nullify his threat. The Manchester United centre backs displayed this, and one of them (Chris Smalling), even won Man of the Match. This isn’t because he is a good defender, it’s simply down to him knowing what Harry Kane was likely to do. This almost completely took Kane out of the game, and that was when spurs’ need for a striker was highlighted. Daniel Levy needs to splash the cash quick, or Tottenham are going to have a tough time scoring against the top teams in the league.

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