Is Harry Kane back to his best? Gary Neville gives his verdict on Monday Night Football...
Neville: "There were moments in the game where you thought he's still coming back from an injury and not quite right, but there were parts of the game where the confidence was coming back."
Last Updated: 01/05/18 8:17am
Harry Kane scored his 27th goal of the season as Tottenham brushed aside Watford with a 2-0 victory at Wembley, but is the England striker back to his best since returning from injury? Gary Neville discusses on Monday Night Football…
Last month Kane returned to first-team action just three weeks after injuring ankle ligaments against Bournemouth but since then he has failed to hit top form, producing some sluggish performances - in particular in Spurs' FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United.
In his post-match interview on MNF, Kane insisted he has felt sharp since his return but his top speed stats suggest otherwise with his lowest recorded speeds of the Premier League season coming in his last two outings against Brighton and Watford.
The 24-year-old has scored three goals from one substitute appearance and five starts, including a controversial goal at Stoke City, but Neville thinks Kane's form is still a work in progress.
"I don't think he's near his best," Neville told MNF. "He's not in the same situation he was. He said himself he's not played his best in the last few weeks and some of his work [against Watford] was inconsistency.
"There were moments in the game where you thought he's still coming back from an injury and not quite right, but there were parts of the game where the confidence was coming back. For instance, the composure to be able to sweep the ball home for his goal after just slipping as well, it takes some doing."
With the World Cup firmly on the horizon, Gareth Southgate, who was in the stands at Wembley on Monday, will be hoping Kane can rediscover his form to play an integral role for England in Russia.
But Neville, who compared Kane to former England captain Alan Searer, does not think the England boss has anything to worry about, claiming Kane's quality will shine through eventually.
"He's not the type of striker you drop because he offers too much," Neville added. "I always used to think about Alan Shearer when I was playing against him and with him all those years ago. He'll have had moments in his game where he wouldn't have been at the top of his game but you'd never consider dropping him because you know full well the guy is gold.
"Kane is like that. These are players that perform every single day at the highest level. It's just about biding your time with him.
"He has dipped below his best in this last few weeks. He has been injured, to be fair, and there have been some issues around him off the pitch which are always a distraction, but he's got to clear that up in this next two and three weeks because he's obviously got a World Cup.
"If Tottenham can finish in the Champions League and Harry Kane can have a great World Cup then that will be fantastic for Tottenham but it will also be fantastic for England as well."
"I always think that if you're bothered by something the quickest way to get rid of it is not to add fuel to a fire."
Meanwhile, Neville thinks Kane's form has been affected by the backlash he has received on social media following his disputed goal against Stoke and the tweet sent by the FA Cup's official Twitter account, mocking his performance against United in the FA Cup semi-final.
Neville thinks the social media storm has been a distraction for Kane, describing the handling of the situation as "terrible".
"I've been really surprised and quite confused these past three or four weeks because - one, he's intelligent, he's a brilliant professional and [secondly] Spurs are a shrewd club," Neville said. "But the distraction that has been caused by the disputed goal, and then the social media thing that the FA did… the way in which it has been handled has been terrible.
"I always think that if you're bothered by something the quickest way to get rid of it is not to add fuel to a fire. I think the way that they've responded has not been wise. I have to say that all these players have agents, lawyers, accountants, people around them that support them, family. They really should've gripped this situation for him. Told him to stand clear, take the sting out of it, but he hasn't. If you show you're bothered by something [on social media], they'll go for you more."
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