LONDON: As the young Harry Kane dominated the penalty area with a dazzling display, his coach could already see that he would one day be the spearhead of England’s attack in the future.
The 22-year-old, who has scored 59 goals for Tottenham Hotspur over the last two years, appeared set for great things when he took one of the first significant steps at Ridgeway Rovers, the junior club that helped David Beckham on the road to stardom.
Kane was born close to Ridgeway’s base in Chingford, a modest commuter town located just beyond the urban sprawl of east London.
So when Kane and his parents saw an advert taken out by Ridgeway in a local paper, he immediately set off to emulate Manchester United and England legend Beckham.
“You could tell straightaway even though he was young. He could strike a ball really well,” Bricknell said.
“I’ve been doing it for over 20 years and there’s probably only a couple that stood out like that.”
Kane was spotted by Arsenal scouts playing for Ridgeway when he was nine.
But he was allowed to leave Arsenal’s youth academy because he was deemed too small, a mistake that Tottenham profited when they signed Kane aged 11 after he scored against them while playing for Watford in a trial match.
“We had him for two seasons. He scored lots of goals for us,” Bricknell said.
“Arsenal picked him up very early. His mobility was why he struggled there apparently.
“But how can you tell that about a young kid? If you give them two years they can work on it.”
Now 22 and hot on the heels of another brilliant season with Tottenham, Kane heads to Euro 2016 established as one of the Premier League’s most feared forwards and a key figure for his country.
MARTIAL: THE NEXT STAR OFF THE ASSEMBLY LINE
LES ULIS: Les Ulis is not a chic suburb of Paris but it deserves a monument as a nursery of French football talent, after producing Thierry Henry, Patrice Evra now Anthony Martial.
It could have been different for the Manchester United star however as he prepares for the European Championship finals.
Martial has only been an international star for a few months. “But we have been talking about ‘Toto’ for a long time,” added Niakate, using the teenager’s childhood nickname.
Niakate’s brother, Mahamadou, is deputy sporting director of the Club Ominsport des Ulis. “He was always way above the others,” the club official said of Martial’s rise. And CO Les Ulis should know.
Before Martial brought the spotlght on the club, it produced French football legend Henry and Evra. About to feature in his first international tournament as a member of the French senior team, Martial will be the next star off the Les Ulis assmbly line to represent Les Bleus.