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Kevin Phillips barely hesitates when asked to assemble the best composite striker from all those he played with, against or has watched in the Premier League. It is a question which might have harvested any part of the games of Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Andy Cole or Sergio Aguero, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen or Mohamed Salah but his response is immediate and unequivocal.
“Almost every bit of Erling Haaland I would say! He is a robot programmed with everything you want. Maybe not his right foot if you were being picky.” It is a treat for fans able to attend Spurs against Manchester City that the only player who could get into Phillips’ composite hitman also happens to be on show tomorrow.
“Haaland is predominantly left footed but Kane is better with both feet. So yeah, Kane gets in with his left foot on the grounds he is a lot more comfortable than Haaland is with his right,” said Phillips.
The numbers back him up with a 267th career goal for Spurs for Kane tomorrow set to take him clear of Jimmy Greaves’s s record and Haaland, with 25 goals in just 19 games, on course to smash Cole and Shearer’s jointly held record of 34 from the mid 90s.
Phillips, at 49 currently cutting out a successful second career as manager with South Shields in the Northern Premier League (two points clear at the top with four games in hand over second) knows a thing or two about goals.
The Golden Boot winner in 1999-2000 beating Shearer, Dwight Yorke, Cole and Henry to the trophy, a season when his 30 in 36 games for Sunderland made him the only Englishman ever to lift the European Golden Shoe as well.
“Ultimately what makes the top boys stand out is their ability to find that composure when they are in front of goal,” he said. “They don’t panic. They just pass it in the net. I remember my dad always quoting Jimmy Greaves at me saying you would score more goals through passing it in the net than you will smashing it.
“You look at Haaland and Kane and they are like that. Look at Kane’s goal at Fulham, he gets half a yard and then bends it. He didn’t even look where the goal is, he knows and that is the art of a top striker. Pass it in the net.”
If Phillips feels Haaland is quicker than but Kane has the better weaker foot the mentality both possess marks them as a cut above.
“Their mentality is so strong. You watch when a striker misses a chance and the cameras pick out their reaction. You’ve seen players when they blow an opportunity and you know he is not going to get one today because it has affected him.
“Watch Kane and Haaland and you would never know from their reaction. These boys don’t let it affect them one little bit. They know there is another coming along and they back themselves.
“It is a unique position because everyone is relying on you to put the ball in the net. If you don’t and you lose the three points can you handle that? Some players can. These two can.”
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