By support

23-year-old is most influential player: Three things we learned about Tottenham in 2016

By Emma Sanders

As 2016 draws to a close, Football Insider analyses three things we learned about Tottenham in the last 12 months.

Harry Kane is the club’s most influential player

The 23-year-old was Spurs’ best player last season, a point he proved by lifting last year’s Premier League Golden Boot. He was out of action for almost two months this season and Tottenham struggled in his absence. In eight games they won just three, drew four and lost one while he was missing. On his return he helped secure a point in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal and followed that up with a brace against West Ham a fortnight later. However, he’s now gone three Premier League games without a goal, including two plum home fixtures against Hull and Burnley. He needs to find his scoring boots again, and in a hurry if Spurs are going to keep pace and challenge for a top-four place.

The academy breeds talent

Mauricio Pochettino has been happy to show faith in a number of the club’s academy stars and they have not let him down. Dele Alli emerged as one of England’s best players last season, finishing the campaign as the PFA Young Player of the Year. Kane continued to shine in 2016 and a number of academy stars have grown into the first team squad more recently. Josh Onomah, Harry Winks, Marcus Edwards, Tom Carroll and Cameron Carter-Vickers have all emerged as top academy stars in 2016.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Tottenham aren’t strong enough to win the league

Spurs mounted a title challenge all the way up to May in 2015-16 but missed out to Leicester City by a huge 10 points in the end. They slipped away dramatically in the final weeks, losing out on the runners-up spot to rivals Arsenal. It showed the inexperience of the squad and so far in 2016-17 there have been similar warnings. Spurs have struggled without key players Toby Alderweireld, Kane and Moussa Dembele and need to adapt to injuries better if they want to sustain a challenge throughout the season and lift the Premier League trophy.

In other Tottenham news, Paul Merson predicts Spurs vs Southampton.