Spurs feature heavily in list of ten greatest Premier League players who won sod all – with obvious 1)

Dave Tickner
Everton defender Leighton Baines, Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane and Spurs player Dele
It's a slightly Spurs-based list, this

Wheeling out the ol’ Harry Kane List for another spin, because a) why not? and b) he’s helping himself to some more individual honours and c) he has, somehow, managed to complete one of the great banters of the age by rocking up at Bayern Actual Munich to win things and still managing to somehow not to.

Straightforward rules here. It’s not just the big prizes – your Premier Leagues, your Champions Leagues, the World Cups of this… world – we’re talking here about any trophy. Won a League One title when you were 17? Disqualified. A Turkish Cup? Barred. Toulon glory with England younglings? You my friend are not welcome here. Be more Harry Kane.

 

10) Nick Pope
Surprisingly slim pickings from a Newcastle squad full of quality but also players who have won nothing (yet) with their current club.

Alexander Isak has Pokal and Copa del Rey medals on his mantelpiece, and while we’re pleased for Anthony Gordon that he won the U21 Euros last summer, it does knacker us a bit.

But it’s been an injury-ruined season and another year potless for Nick Pope. You’d imagine Newcastle surely have to win something sooner or later, and fingers crossed Pope will be back fit and firing to enjoy it. He’s 32 years old now and been on a marvellously circuitous route to Premier League and England acclaim having been released by Ipswich at 16 and then gone out on loan not once, not twice but eight times during his six years on Charlton’s books before a move to Burnley and an injury to Tom Heaton would change his life.

He’s been a pretty reliably consistent Premier League goalkeeper for several years now, one who always comes out near the top of the charts for such old-fashioned goalkeeping metrics as ‘shots saved’ and now finds himself in on the ground floor with the chance to do something special in the Newcastle revolution.

For now, though, his trophy cabinet contains only individual honours. Given his well-travelled career, it’s quite something that he’s not picked up something, somewhere. He did land a place in the 2019/20 Premier League PFA Team of the Year, which is no mean feat given the competition between the sticks, as well as a couple of Burnley player of the year awards and two Premier League save of the month gongs.

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9) Trevor Sinclair
The recipient of 150 hours of unpaid work, a driving disqualification and a £500 fine for calling a police officer a “white ****” in 2018, Trevor Sinclair never actually won a club trophy – despite being able to claim more Premier League assists than Mikel Arteta, Roberto Firmino and David Ginola.

He has won a Goal of the Season awardfor that overhead kick and finished as runner-up in the Hammer of the Year award to Paolo Di Canio, but club honours somehow evaded him at Blackpool, QPR, West Ham, Manchester City, Cardiff City and Lancaster City. But would he really swap a place in Blackpool’s Hall of Fame for a League Cup medal? Yes, of course he would.

As it stands, Sinclair is in a very elite group of England World Cup quarter-finalists who have never actually won a trophy; even sodding Danny Mills won a League Cup.

 

8) Kieron Dyer
The proud owner of 33 England caps and yet the prodigious Kieron Dyer never finished higher than third in the league nor played in an actual cup final, having joined Newcastle just after their back-to-back FA Cup final defeats to Arsenal and Manchester United. That under-achievement – and it is an under-achievement considering his natural ability – feels apt as Dyer’s story is one marked by persistent injury and foolishness.

Dyer was so desperate for trophies that he entered I’m a Celebrity in 2015. Although he lasted longer than Chris Eubank and Tony Hadley, he was no Vicky Pattison (who is?); he came fourth. Foiled again.

As Barney Ronay wrote on his retirement in 2013: ‘He never won a trophy or any individual award of note. He leaves effectively no mark at all, his most memorable act on a football pitch being punched by a team-mate in 2005. His career is, in outline, a modern sporting absurdity.’

Oh and Lee Bowyer won a League Cup as a player and League One promotion as a manager. Sorry fella.

 

7) Ollie Watkins
Could still in theory play his way off this list this season, but it’s going to take a very dramatic second leg of Aston Villa’s Europa Conference semi-final against Olympiacos for that to happen.

For now, he remains very much on the Kane train and at 28 years old is just starting to run out of time. Such is England’s strength in depth among pot-dodging strikers that Watkins might not even get a chance to make the Euros his first trophy this summer, which seems extremely harsh after another stellar season for Aston Villa.

Watkins might not yet have quite Kane calibre near-misses, but he’s not without his hard-luck stories. He was at Brentford for the play-off heartbreak in 2020 but had left for Villa by the time those demons were exorcised the following season.

Villa are on a steep improvement curve right now, but the Europa Conference is the first time they’ve come close to winning anything in Watkins’ time. And it looks like they might have f***ed that a bit now.

Maybe he’ll have to settle for making the Champions League his first trophy in a year’s time. What? Kane came pretty close.

 

6) Leighton Baines
Sliding doors and all that: Leighton Baines came close to joining Manchester United in 2013. Had he been sold, he might have had a medal collection to mirror Marouane Fellaini’s haul of FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League; instead, he has three times come close to claiming a medal and has emerged with jack all.

He was in the Wigan side that finished second in the Championship and then reached a League Cup final in which they were comprehensively beaten by Manchester United. He then joined Everton and reached the FA Cup final in 2009 only to lose to Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea.

“During my time and in recent seasons we have just been beneath, we have come close a few times with cup finals, semi-finals, trips to Wembley but falling at the final hurdle,” said Baines in the summer of 2017 as he allowed himself to dream after a window of significant spending. It never happened and he retired potless.

 

5) Danny Rose
For good or bad, the careers of Kyle Walker and Danny Rose will forever be entwined and therefore inevitably compared. England international full-backs born in Yorkshire in 1990, both of whom realised their potential in the same precocious Tottenham side. But while one flew the coop and won everything there is to win, the other stayed and stayed before eventually joining Watford.

It is not for the want of trying. Rose did his best to engineer a move in the summer of 2017. “Time is running out and I do want to win trophies,” he said, presumably wary of becoming the next Trevor Sinclair or Kieron Dyer. “I don’t want to play football for 15 years and not have one trophy or one medal. Sorry, that’s not what I am about. I wouldn’t be happy with that. I want to win something.”

The words of Walker – “it’s like trying to describe the birth of your children, you can’t. And you can’t describe the feeling of winning trophies, either” – will hardly help. His former teammate has added a gazillion pieces of silverware at Manchester City. Rose’s Champions League runner-up medal looks lovely next to its 2015 League Cup counterpart.

 

4) Dele
This is not the kind of list on which we should find a player previously touted as a £100m-plus target for Real Madrid and Barcelona. And yet here Dele sits, driving and diving in search of a first trophy, having claimed promotion but no League One title with MK Dons.

Like Rose, Dele has twice been voted in the Premier League’s best XI by his peers and yet Tottenham have come up short when it comes to actual silverware.

Made a tentative return from Mourinho-inflicted wilderness under Ryan Mason’s friendly caretakership at Spurs but early promise under Nuno Espirito Santo proved as fleeting as the manager’s. Nuno was gone by November, and by the end of January Dele’s Spurs career was over as well.

Would that boost his silverware chances? Logically it would be near impossible to reduce them. Except he went to Frank Lampard’s Everton.

“He’s a young player, but he’s not a proven player. At the moment, he hasn’t won anything,” were the chastening words of England manager Gareth Southgate in August 2017. Little has changed, apart from the ‘young player’ part. Even a loan move to Besiktas, a club you’d think has a decent chance of winning some stuff, couldn’t deliver a trophy. And Dele’s own form there was horrible.

Injuries ruined this season before it even began and a hugely saddening ‘What if?’ of a career now seems locked in for a player twice named PFA young player of the year while also being named in the team of the year in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.

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3) Stan Collymore
As Daniel Storey wrote in 2017: ‘England’s very own nearly man. There are many supporters of Nottingham Forest and Liverpool who will talk long into the night about Collymore’s natural talent, but his three England caps and lack of any major career honours is testament to the problems that bubbled under the service.’ As IS the fact that he scored fewer Premier League goals than Dean Holdsworth.

Collymore did at least reach one major final, but he lasted only 74 minutes of the absolutely rotten 1996 FA Cup showpiece before watching Eric Cantona score the winner for Manchester United from the bench. The irony is that Collymore had seemingly been close to joining United the summer before only for Sir Alex Ferguson to opt for Andy Cole (five Premier League medals, a Champions League and two FA Cups).

 

2) Matt Le Tissier
When Southampton pair Matt Le Tisser and Alan Shearer sat in tears having ended up on the losing side of the Full Members Cup clash with Nottingham Forest in front of almost 68,000 at Wembley, they must have talked about how their chance would come again. For Shearer it would, with the Premier League being claimed three years later. For Le Tissier, that would sadly be as close as he would ever come to glory. He would never finish higher than seventh and Saints would reach an FA Cup final the year after he left .

Easy to forget now his main purpose in life is being a fully-fledged tinfoil-hat conspiracy rabbithole lunatic who believes the England manager would be too “woke” to seek his advice on taking penalties, but he really was an astonishingly brilliant player. Not that you’ll read about that in the MSM. And despite his current rage against the assorted conspiracies that control our lives, Le Tiss remains pretty happy with his playing career.

“I’ve no regrets whatsoever,” he told FourFourTwo in 2010. “From seven years old I had an ambition to be a professional footballer and I had an ambition to play for England, and I fulfilled both at Southampton. Yes, I knew I probably wouldn’t win any honours, but when you’re at a club that size, staying in the Premier League for 16 years gave me as much pleasure as winning a medal if I’d gone somewhere else. No-one expected us to stay up there for that long. I was so chuffed to be a part of that.”

 

1) Harry Kane
It’s getting silly now, isn’t it? It was one thing when he was smashing records and scooping individual awards at Spurs without ever breaking his trophy duck. But for this generationally brilliant striker to join a club like Bayern Munich, then be absolutely brilliant for them and collect yet more individual baubles and trinkets while still winning absolutely nothing is simply astonishing.

Is the best footballer ever to win nothing? He’s certainly on the list.

It was a move that came with an apparent guarantee of trophies. Bayern were on an 11-year run of Bundesliga success, and in five of those seasons they’d also won the Pokal, Champions League or both.

Kane’s very first game for Bayern was the German Super Cup. He could have won a trophy – albeit an entirely tinpot one – in his very first game. They lost 3-0 to RB Leipzig. We all thought it had merely delayed the banter, not started a whole new one.

His record of individual achievements is absurdly incongruous with the total absence of even the least auspicious of team ones. As well as his all-time Spurs scoring landmarks and second place in the Premier League all-time goals list, he’s got three Premier League Golden Boots and another in the Bundesliga (pending), a World Cup Golden Boot, 62 England goals, six appearances in the Premier League Team of the Year, one appearance in a World Cup Dream Team, one appearance in the Bundesliga team of the year, five Bundesliga goal of the month awards, seven Premier League player of the month awards and a playmaker of the season award for that mad campaign a couple of years ago when he just kept setting up goals for Son Heung-min all the time.

But beyond all the individual awards, the sheer insanity of Kane’s big fat zero in the pots won column is that his near-misses make his career all but unbeatable in this regard. If we accept that for an English footballer the four biggest possible competitions are the Premier League, Champions League, World Cup and Euros, then Kane has finished a runner-up in three of them and fourth in the other. He’s also got not one but two League Cup runners-up medals and a UEFA Nations League bronze.

It’s not just that he’s a great player. It’s not just that he’s a great player who’s never won anything. It’s that he’s a great player who’s never won anything but has been a gnat’s cock hair away from winning the very biggest prizes. It’s got to massively boil his piss, hasn’t it? Surely?

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