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Harry Kane a star in any era, like Lionel Messi, Pele – Mauricio Pochettino
- Updated: February 10, 2018
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has refused to take any credit for Harry Kane's success, insisting the striker would be just as good in any league and in any era.
Pochettino compared Kane to Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Brazil legend Pele — both of whom, along with Diego Maradona, are considered among the greatest ever players.
In an article for The Players' Tribune, published after he reached 100 Premier League goals, Kane said nobody 'has had a bigger impact on my career than Mauricio' and thanked the 45-year-old for 'for getting the most out of me as a striker.'
But Pochettino said: 'He achieves because he deserves to and because of him, not because of us. There are a lot of people involved. First of all his family, his parents, brother, wife, friends.
'And then the coaching through from when he was a kid to the first team, the managers that he had in the first team and now us. We are lucky in this period that he is shining.
'It is difficult to find another striker who has improved like he has improved. To have the impact Harry has had in the Premier League — the best league in the world — is so difficult and that is why for me he is one of the greatest strikers.
'I know that a striker like him in England, in Germany, in Spain, will be top. People say if Messi moved to England would he be the same? Come on! It's like saying if Maradona played today would he be the same! The same with [Alfredo] Di Stefano, [Johan] Cruyff, Pele.'
In the article, Kane, 24, reveals how his release by Arsenal as an eight-year-old has motivated him ever since to prove them wrong, and he will be aiming to score against Spurs' rivals for the eighth time when they visit in Wembley in Saturday's north London derby.
Pochettino said: 'We read it the other day and we got emotional. He explained his life, how he thinks, how he does everything. He did all this with us in the last three-and-a-half or four years.
'We know how tough it was for him to achieve all that he has achieved, how important his family was for him and the good advice from his dad, brother and everything. He is a good example for everyone.
'It's difficult to have this type of history in football and, in the end, behave how he behaves when he is one of the top players in the world.
'He is more mature now. He is so confident and his belief, his arrogance and his ego is in a good balance. You cannot be Harry Kane if you do not have a good ego or you are not a little bit arrogant, but if you are too much you cross the line and you start to struggle.'
In the article, Kane says one of his 'fondest memories in football' was entering Pochettino's office after scoring a hat trick and taking a photo with the manager.
'That happened three years ago. It's so humble how he described that situation,' Pochettino said. 'That is why I got emotional because when you do something it's because you feel it. It's not because you think in three years that Harry is going to talk well about me!'
Pochettino also expressed his pride at being the first Spurs manager to reach 200 games under chairman Daniel Levy in Wednesday's FA Cup win over Newport. And he said he had no idea how difficult the project would be when he accepted the job in May 2014.
On being told he was the longest-serving Tottenham manager since Keith Burkinshaw, Pochettino said: 'That makes me proud that the board and Daniel Levy showed the confidence and trust.
'When I arrived, I didn't realise everything from the beginning but then I soon understood that we arrived at an amazing club, with an amazing history, amazing fans.
'We soon realised how difficult it was and what the process would be of moving from one stadium to another. We knew it was a difficult moment in terms of the whole process of the club but we went through with it.'