Tom Carroll always knew Harry Kane was a top-drawer finisher and a driven sportsman, but only now is the Tottenham superstar the ‘all-round package’.
Carroll, the former Spurs midfielder, came through the north Londoners’ academy at the same time as Kane and remains a close friend of the England captain’s – even through his career has taken him to Swansea and then to west London with QPR.
Kane recently scored his 150th Premier League goal – and he has Alan Shearer’s record of 260 in his sights – but this season he’s also become a creative force, assisting goals for fun.
Kane scored his 150th Premier League goal as Tottenham beat West Brom last time outAFP or licensors
He’s laid on a remarkable eight goals already this term, adding those assists to his seven goals scored in just eight appearances.
Many have lauded Kane as the Premier League’s best player right now, while others claim never before has he played football as good as he is right now.
Carroll, who first played with Kane at Under-14 level, is among those who believe the 27-year-old is well on his way to becoming one of the world’s greatest footballers.
Speaking to talkSPORT ahead of our LIVE GameDay commentary of Tottenham vs Manchester City, Carroll said: “With his mentality that can take you half the way. His finishing was always top-drawer for me and equally he was as good with both feet and in the air.
“I think he’s become more of an athlete; he looks strong, quick and powerful which he might not have had in his younger years.
“I think now he’s just got the all-round package. Every time he looks like he’s going to have a shot I’m thinking to myself it’s a goal. It’s got to that stage now where I’m thinking if he’s got it in and around the box I’m thinking goal wherever he is.
“Mentally he is so focused on football and is just so driven. He’s been like that the whole time I’ve known him. He’s just a winner. He wants to win everything and be the best at everything. He’s well on route to becoming one of the top, top players in my world.”
Kane’s progression into playmaker extraordinaire has stunned supporters, but it’s not come as a huge surprise to those who coached or played with the forward during his formative years.
Carroll revealed that, while Kane’s goalscoring has never been in doubt, his ability to play as a No.10 comes from his academy days.
“I’ve played with him since Under-14s, but it was mainly around the youth team and Under-16s that I first saw him play,” added the QPR midfielder. “He’s always been a finisher.
Kane developed in Tottenham’s academy before debuting for the first-team in 2011GETTY IMAGES – GETTY
“Sometimes he even played as a No.10, which sums him up really because he can do either role really well. He can drop in like now what he’s doing at Spurs and then you’ve got the runners off him.
“If not, he’s just a top No.9. I wouldn’t say there are many players [out there] who can do both roles to the quality he can.”
Carroll is clearly a big fan of Kane’s ability in the final third, although his new assist record is admittedly eye-catching.
“Like you’re seeing at the moment he’s getting a lot of assists as well as goals,” continued Carroll. “His passing range is good.
“But I think as a striker you get judged on goals. His finishing, for me, I don’t think I’ve played with anyone better than him.”
Kane has his sights set on becoming the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Shearer’s record of 260 goals before he retires.
On becoming top scorer, Carroll said: “He’s obviously got a great chance of breaking the records. I’m sure that’s what his aim is if he stays in the Premier League.
“I’m not sure what his future ambitions are but he’s well on the way to it now I’d say for club and country.
“You want to win trophies and stuff, but individually he’ll be thinking, ‘yeah tick that off, tick that off.”
Trophies are the one thing in Kane’s career which are no guarantee.
Tottenham have not won silverware since 2008 – when Kane was 15 – and ‘Spursyness’ continues to conspire against them ending this lengthening drought.
But has all this changed with the appointment of Jose Mourinho, who replaced Mauricio Pochettino in north London exactly one year ago yesterday?
Mourinho on Friday celebrated one year as Tottenham managerGetty Images – Getty
“Getting Jose Mourinho in is one of those appointments which makes you think, ‘ok, he’s come in to win’,” added Carroll.
“Straight away I’d imagine Harry would have been thinking that as well.
“And then obviously him, [Heung-min] Son and adding [Gareth] Bale into the attack as well – you look round at that team now and think, ‘ok, we’ve got a right chance’.
“He’ll want to win trophies and if he thinks he can do that at Spurs then brilliant – I’m sure he’d be happy to stay and do that.
“If not, I’m not entirely sure what he’d want to do, but I think every footballer wants to win things.”
Kane could end his career as Tottenham, England and the Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorerGetty Images – Getty
So Kane is excelling on the football pitch right now, and he’s previously admitted his desire to become an NFL kicker sometime in the future.
But are there any sports he’s not so good at?
“Not really, to be honest!” finished Carroll. “He’s absolute top-drawer when it comes to golf as well. He probably plays off about three or four now I reckon.
“There’s nothing I’ve done with him where I’ve thought he’s bad at that or something like that. If he puts his mind to something he’ll always succeed at it.”
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you three LIVE Premier League commentaries, including Tottenham vs Manchester City at 5:30pm