Dom Howson column: Goal machine Kane shows the loan system works

Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

He is the heartbeat of Tottenham’s forward line, the leading English scorer in the Premier League and deservedly just earned his first international call-up.

But Harry Kane actually scored his first professional goal against the Owls in January 2011 at the tender age of 17.

Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates after scoringagainst Arsenal. The on-form striker notched up his first ever senior goal against Sheffield Wednesday

Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates after scoringagainst Arsenal. The on-form striker notched up his first ever senior goal against Sheffield Wednesday

Leyton Orient was where Kane started his footballing odyssey. Russell Slade signed him on a temporary basis and Kane, making his full league debut, registered in the O’s 4-0 thrashing of Wednesday.

Nicky Weaver has no recollection of Kane playing or scoring past him that afternoon but recalled: “Manager Alan Irvine had made me captain that game because Darren Purse had just left. It was 0-0 at half-time and I remember all the Wednesday fans were down one side opposite the tunnel. It was one of those days which you try to forget!”

Four years on and Kane is enjoying the season of his life, hitting 26 goals in 42 matches for Tottenham.

Weaver, now the club’s academy goalkeeping coach, said: “Harry has done really well; he wasn’t even first choice at Tottenham a few months ago. I would think his street value now would probably be around £40m.”

What aided Kane’s development was a string of loan spells at Orient, Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester City. Ex-Owls loanees Ross Barkley and Connor Wickham are further proof that the system works.

“Unless you are unbelievable at a young age like Wayne Rooney was at Everton, you are not going to break into the first-team at a Premier League club in your teens,” said Weaver. “It takes a little bit of time to make the step up so it does benefit you as a player going out on loan. You go and get that experience.

“Look at Liam Palmer. He went to Tranmere for a season and has done great since coming back to us. When you play 30 to 40 games at senior level, it really toughens you up. Men’s football is so different to Under-21s football. People’s jobs are on the line.

“Younger players sometimes need to get out of their comfort zones. When you go to a lesser club and realise that the facilities aren’t maybe what they are at your parent club, it might make you that little more hungry to succeed where you are.”

What Wednesday will be hoping is that new signing Lloyd Isgrove settles in quickly and makes a major contribution for them over the next eight fixtures before returning to Southampton.