Harry Kane's actions have reiterated that there is no loyalty in football. Kane is supposed to be the model pro, a role model to young aspiring footballers. But like the majority of players, his own interests come before others.
Every player wants to play at the highest level they can, but there are ways of getting that move. No matter how frustrated, no matter how much you are desperate for a transfer, what Kane has done by refusing to turn up for training is the wrong way of doing it. His great career at Tottenham Hotspur shouldn’t excuse the fact he is disrespecting the club.
I never played anywhere near Kane’s level, but I did find myself in a similar situation in wanting to leave a club while under contract, with the club reluctant to let me go.
Not once did it cross my mind to go on strike and refuse to train.
Before my move to Preston North End from Cork City in 2012, City had rejected numerous bids for me. I had a buyout clause of £100,000 (€117,689), but City rejected several offers before finally accepting Preston’s £80,000 (€94,150) bid. My frustration grew with every offer that was turned down because I feared missing out on my big opportunity, as I’m sure Kane does now.
Unlike Kane’s situation, where Spurs chairman Daniel Levy seems to be blocking the move, I always felt it was my manager at the time, Tommy Dunne, who had the final say.
I was in constant communication with Tommy, who was telling me what I wanted to hear, that he was going to help get the deal done. But my agent was telling me differently. Eventually, Tommy did agree to the move at a reduced price and I think that’s because of the relationship I had built with him over the previous two years.
Unfortunately for Kane, Nuno Espirito Santo is just in the door as Tottenham manager and I can’t imagine he would do anything to upset Levy by supporting Kane. Nuno was a long way down Spurs’ list of potential replacements for Jose Mourinho as manager and is unlikely to start by rocking the boat.
A lot has been made of a supposed ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between Kane and Levy, that the England captain has every right to be angry with because Levy has gone back on his word. But if such an agreement exists, it’s still Kane’s fault for being naïve enough to believe the word of a man known as a difficult negotiator.
The only promises a chairman is obliged to keep are the ones written in a player’s contract. I don’t understand why Kane’s agent didn’t get the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ tied into a new contract.
I was offered a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ by Tommy at City. A few months before joining Preston, I was desperate to go on short trial to Millwall. I knew the club had watched me throughout the season and felt it was my best chance of a move to England.
Tommy would only agree to the trial on the grounds that if it didn’t go well and Millwall didn’t offer me a contract, I would sign a new three-year deal at City. I didn’t want to take that risk. Thinking about it, I could have refused to sign the contract anyway if things didn’t go as planned, but that was something I’d never do.
Kane has been seen as disrespectful to his team-mates in missing training, but I don’t see it like that. Players rarely have ill-feeling towards a want-away team-mate. Football is a short career and team-mates understand that a player has to do what is best for themselves.
On the contrary, what does annoy players is having a player come in training every day, who doesn’t want to be there, and is ruining the session.
Until Kane’s future is sorted, how are Spurs meant to prepare for the season ahead? Tottenham could be working on team shape or
patterns of play that involve Kane, but that would be a waste of time if the striker will be leaving in a few weeks.
Kane’s team-mates would prefer him to stay away until his future is resolved because of the distractions he would cause. Every day, the topic of conversation would be, when is he leaving, rather than a focus on the season ahead.
Will Kane’s actions put Manchester City off buying him? Absolutely not. Somebody has probably told him that going on strike is the best way for him to secure the move he wants.