Harry Kane can’t lead Spurs to winning position against Burnley
Young striker handed captain’s armband in Turf Moor stalemate
Spurs captain Harry Kane in action with Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton during the premier League game at Turf Moor. Photograph: Craig Brough/Action Images via Reuters /Livepic
Burnley 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0
A day that provided another landmark in the increasingly remarkable career of Tottenham’s talismanic top scorer ended in frustration. Kane’s breakthrough year is ever less likely to culminate in qualification for the Champions League and a sterile stalemate suggested a Spurs team playing their 50th game of the season are running out of steam.
Burnley, too, should deem it a missed opportunity. They clambered back above QPR but remain below the dotted line and are running out of chances to extricate themselves from the relegation zone. They also rely on incessant running and didn’t have the necessary sharpness to be incisive.
It was the sort of match that may be remembered more for the teamsheet than anything that actually happened on the pitch. The circled C next to Kane’s name showed he joined an illustrious line of Spurs captains, even if he owed his elevation from the ranks to the misfortune of others.
Younès Kaboul, the designated club captain, lost his place months ago. The injured Hugo Lloris, who normally wears the armband, and his ill deputy, Jan Vertonghen, were both sidelined. An inexperienced team contained few obvious candidates for the captaincy. Kane stood in as leader but no one took on his usual mantle as the goal-getter.
Not since Lineker has anyone mustered 30 in a season for Spurs; Kane will surely join an exclusive club but remains rooted on 29 for at least another few days. This was that rarity, a match when even the ubiquitous Kane was quiet.
His England under-21 team-mate Danny Ings was more prominent but while his chances bookended the first half, the Tottenham target’s goal drought has now extended to six games. His first opportunity represented his best.
Spurs were caught out by the speed of Burnley’s pressing. England’s newest debutant Ryan Mason was robbed by George Boyd, who released Ings, only for Burnley’s top scorer to direct his shot straight at Michel Vorm. Some 40 minutes later the Dutchman flung himself to his left to tip Ings’s dipping effort over the bar.
Vorm also averted embarrassment when Ings’s up-and-under threatened to provide a goal from the corner flag, diverting it away. The signing from Swansea, who was beaten three times as a replacement after Lloris was carried off against Leicester, marked a belated first league start for Tottenham with a clean sheet.
As a previously porous Spurs side were without their first-choice goalkeeper and centre back, in Vertonghen, and were forced into a defensive reshuffle when Kyle Walker hobbled off, that may represent progress. It could say more about Burnley, however, who have only scored once in five games – Boyd’s wonderful winner against Manchester City. They are failing to score the scrappier goals teams in their predicament tend to require and Boyd headed narrowly wide in stoppage time.
Spurs were still less threatening as Burnley prevented them from entering the penalty box. Tottenham concentrated on shooting from distance. Nacer Chadli dug out a low shot that Tom Heaton grasped at the second attempt. Danny Rose and Mason missed the target and Kane dragged an effort well wide. Heaton denied Christian Eriksen but it was the sort of save a goalkeeper of his calibre ought to muster.
Later, Eriksen’s rising shot flew into the banks of visiting fans in the David Fishwick Stand, while Paulinho made a mess of a fine opening.
Burnley’s search for a winner entailed sending on Lukas Jutkiewicz, a forward who has never scored for the club. He still hasn’t.