Exclusive: Harry Kane on the final and his Spurs 'family'
A childhood Spurs fan, Harry Kane has spent his entire career at Tottenham, but never dared to dream – until relatively recently – that he might get the chance to play for them in a UEFA Champions League final.
However, after a season of unending drama, he will get that chance on Saturday. Spurs’ 25-year-old marksman spoke to UEFA.com ahead of the all-English Madrid decider against Liverpool.
What would it mean to you to win the Champions League?
Harry Kane: It would mean everything. Over the last four, five years, with [Mauricio Pochettino] here, we’ve had a plan to become one of the best teams in Europe. To now be in a Champions League final, it’s truly special. [The feeling is] hard to describe. You try not to think about it too much; you don’t want to let the emotions become overwhelming, but of course it will be massive. It’d be out of my wildest dreams, as a Spurs fan growing up. Even coming through the academy it was nothing that we would’ve ever expected to do.
What lessons from this season can you take into the final?
The whole campaign has gone right down to the wire. There’s been so many ups and downs. [The way we came back in the Ajax game] shows great character, great motivation; it shows you’re never out of a game and that’s what we’re taking into the final.
How was it watching the semi-finals from the sidelines due to injury?
Tough. When you’re playing, of course you have the pressure but once you’re on the pitch you’re free and you’re not thinking about it too much, but when you’re watching you’re like a fan in the stands and obviously you can’t do anything about it – you just have to watch. [After] the last game against Ajax, I sprinted down to the pitch [to celebrate], which people saw, and let a lot of emotion out.
Is it odd to be playing another English side in the final?
It’s a little bit strange. We’re obviously used to the Premier League feel, but at the end of the day, it’s just another top team that we have to play. We’ve played them a couple of times this season already, and of course they got the better of us [winning 2-1 in London and Liverpool]. But, I think over the last few years we’ve had some good battles. It’ll be a tough game, but we know that if we play like we can and get everything right, it’s a game that we can win.
Everyone knows that Liverpool have a great history, but I think when it comes down to it, it’s one game – it’s 90 minutes or 120 minutes to give it everything, to leave it all out on the pitch and really try and make history. And as a club, five, ten years ago this wouldn’t have even been in our dreams, and now we’re here it’s an opportunity that we really have to grab with both hands.
This Spurs team has been together a long time; has that helped?
Absolutely. There are times when things aren’t going so well and you start to look around and, [you remember] you’ve known each other for a while, you’ve been through tough times together before so it’s no different. For sure, there will be times on Saturday where we’ll be under the cosh a bit, and we’ll have to dig deep. That’s the family we’ve created here. We’re there for each other and we’ll fight for each other until the end.
Everyone knows that we haven’t bought a player in the last couple of transfer windows but, in a way, that’s been our strength because it’s brought us closer together. We’ve had injuries where people have stepped in and done a job. That’s what our season’s been like, but whoever’s played has performed and given it everything they’ve got. That’s all you can ask for.
Do you have any special way of preparing for big games?
Not really. This has been a strange lead-up because normally you play at the weekend and then you might have another big game in the week or a week later. We’ve had three weeks to prepare for this one.
I’m quite a calm person, especially before the game. I don’t feel like there’s any need to shout too much. If you’re prepared well and you’re ready to go out and do a job there’s no need to be shouting and screaming. But, sometimes, it’s needed. Sometimes at half-time you need to have a word with players or the team and try to motivate them. I’m someone who tries to lead by example. If we’re all prepared and ready in the same way, that’s fine.
Have you been in touch with any of your England team-mates in the Liverpool team?
I texted Jordan [Henderson] after their win against Barcelona and congratulated him and said what an amazing game it had been. He wished me luck for the next day. It worked out well for both of us and that’s the last time we spoke. Obviously, we’ll be meeting up for England a couple of days later [for the UEFA Nations League finals], so one team is going to have the bragging rights and one team won’t. That’s part of football.
How will it be to walk out on the pitch on Saturday?
There’s no bigger motivation in football. Being the champions of Europe is what every kid dreams about. To be here with this club, a club that I’ve been involved with all my life, is truly something special, and it’s about just giving everything and leaving it all out there.
Have I dreamed about lifting the trophy? Yes, of course. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t. Of course, it’s something that you think about and it’s something you dream about. It’s a strange feeling now because we’re one game away and we know it’s within our reach. The most important thing is to focus on the game. Let’s hope that this dream will come true.