Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has recalled the journey he took after being rejected from Arsenal's youth squad to leading the way as Tottenham Hotspur's all-time top Premier League goalscorer.
The 24-year-old secured his 100th English top-flight goal on Sunday during his side's dramatic 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield. However, had it not been for one day in hometown Chingford, things could have been a lot different.
"So one day when I was eight years old, I was walking to the park with my dad, and he said, right out of the blue, “I’ve got to tell you something,”" the England international wrote for The Players' Tribune.
"I said, “Yeah, what is it?”
"Then I remember he put his arm around my shoulder, and he said, “Well, Harry … Arsenal have released you.”
"I can’t really recall what I felt in that moment. To be honest — I don’t even think I really knew what it meant. I was too young. But I do remember how my father reacted, and how it made me feel. He didn’t criticise me. He didn’t criticise Arsenal. He didn’t even look especially bothered by it at all. He just said, “Don’t worry, Harry. We’ll work harder — and we’ll go on and we’ll find another club, alright?”"
Following that point, Kane spent his youth years with local clubs, Watford and then finally onto Tottenham's academy.
However, following loan spells at Millwall, Leicester City and Norwich City, the frontman was finally afforded his chance at White Hart Lane, and had particular motivation when it came to facing off against Arsenal, who, back as an eight-year-old, did not see the Englishman holding a future in the game.
"For me, the rejection is the best thing that ever happened to me", he added. "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.
"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 visualising 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.
"I remember walking round the pitch after the final whistle … and clapping to the fans … and it felt like, Well — I told you so.
"It wasn’t just about Arsenal. It’s a little deeper than that. It was about proving something to myself, and to my family — who believed in me every step of the way."