Harry Kane says trying to prove Arsenal should never have let him go provided the “drive” he needed to kickstart his Tottenham career.
Kane scored his 100th Premier League goal against Liverpool on Sunday, and is Tottenham’s leading goalscorer in the competition.
But the striker was released by north London rivals Arsenal at the age of 8, spurring him on to prove himself.
“It’s funny how things work out – as it was after playing for Watford against Tottenham that I got the opportunity to join Tottenham’s youth academy. The white kit fit better on me, I think,” he told The Players’ Tribune.
“I remember the first time we played against Arsenal…and even back then, I had a chip on my shoulder. It might sound ridiculous – I was only eight when they let me go – but every time we played them, I thought, ‘Alright, we’ll see who’s right and who’s wrong.’
“Looking back on it now, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, because it gave me a drive that wasn’t there before.
“For me, the rejection is the best thing that ever happened to me. When I was lacing my up boots for my first start in the north London derby back in 2015, I had a flashback to when I was 11, playing against Arsenal’s youth team. It was like déjà vu. Before every match, I always visualize scenarios in my head of exactly how I’ll score in the match. Left-foot curler into the bottom corner. Right-foot volley from the right corner of the box. I’ve always been that way. I get really detailed about it — I’ll picture my opponents and the cut of the grass and everything.
“This time, I was picturing the defenders wearing the red Arsenal kit, and I got goosebumps.
“We were in the tunnel, and I thought, ‘O.K. Took me 12 years. But we’ll see who was right and who was wrong.’
“I scored two that day, and the winner in the 86th minute was something that I’d never even dream of visualizing before a match. It was a header — probably the best header I’ve ever scored — and that feeling when it hit the back of the net … I’ve never felt a rush like that in my whole career.”
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