James Maddison says ‘collective’ approach needed to replace Harry Kane’s goals

By Sports Desk August 27, 2023

James Maddison is more than happy to shoulder responsibility at Tottenham but has insisted it will take a “collective” effort to replace Harry Kane.

Maddison continues to impress in the Spurs number 10 shirt previously worn by Kane, who completed a £100million move to Bayern Munich on the eve of the new season.

Kane’s departure has not derailed the early progress of Ange Postecoglou’s team with Maddison relishing his role as creator in chief with two assists at Brentford earlier this month followed up with a maiden Tottenham goal in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

While Richarlison and captain Son Heung-min are yet to open their accounts for the season, Dejan Kulusevski ended his drought with the second at the Vitality Stadium to extend the feelgood factor currently around the club.

“It’s tough if you’re asking me to try and get 30 goals,” Maddison joked.

“It’s a collective. You can’t even look to replace what Harry Kane gives you. You’ve got to all chip in and look to try and score the same amount of goals from different areas.

“Harry is probably the best number nine in the world. You will never find a direct replacement in terms of goals and what he can give you. We should all be chipping in.”

Spurs have had five different goalscorers and benefited from an own goal during their three Premier League fixtures and there appears a new lease of life for several members of a squad rundown by the end of a tough 2022-23 campaign.

Yves Bissouma and Pape Sarr, having rarely featured under Postecoglou’s predecessor Antonio Conte, have quickly formed an encouraging midfield partnership with Maddison, and Pedro Porro has made the most of his early opportunities at right-back.

When Maddison joined from Leicester in June for an initial £40million fee, he was not viewed as a replacement for Kane but continues to provide creativity and a goal threat.

The 26-year-old insists the philosophy of ex-Celtic boss Postecoglou has been key to Tottenham’s flying start despite losing the England captain.

Maddison told BBC’s Match of the Day: “The type of person I am, I’m at my best when I have responsibility on my shoulders and that’s when I thrive.

“I am a player who loves to be on the ball and that fits with how the manager wants his players to play. This was a good day for all that.

“We’ve got the bit between our teeth. We have some momentum so long may that continue and hopefully we can still implement the final steps the gaffer wants to see, which is attacking football.”

Postecoglou has enjoyed an unbeaten start to life at Tottenham but it is a different story for Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola.

Iraola watched his team open the season with a 1-1 home draw against West Ham before defeats have followed against Liverpool and Tottenham.

The fixture list does not get any kinder with Brentford, Chelsea, Brighton and Arsenal to come in September but Iraola blamed himself for a drop-off during the latter stages of this Spurs loss, with Ryan Christie’s withdrawal on the hour mark viewed in hindsight as a mistake.


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“We knew from the beginning that we had a very tough schedule to start and now we have some important players out with injuries but we have to keep competing,” Iraola insisted.

“I think probably after the game you think and I shouldn’t have taken Ryan out of from the game because especially without the ball, he was pressing really well.

“I wanted to go a little bit more offensive, but we were worse from that point. I don’t know if it was after the subs or 2-0 because it was one minute later.

“Probably until the 62nd minute we were playing well and – against a very good team – having our chances.

“So, I was quite happy with the performance, but from there we couldn’t keep the intensity and they were controlling the game much easier.”

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