Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe says he always knew that old pal Harry Kane was destined to set the Premier League alight.
But the veteran frontman says it’ll be a case of friendships forgotten when the Black Cats make the trip to Defoe’s old haunt to take on Tottenham on Sunday.
“It will be nice to go back, but my focus is to get the three points. I want to leave White Hart Lane happy,” said the 34-year-old, who admits that the players are desperate to get the first win of the season under their belts.
“Harry is obviously the main one. All of the goals he has scored is no surprise.
“Even when I was there, there were times when he should have got the chance instead of the club splashing so much money on other players.
“He had to wait for his chance, go out on loan, and then he is doing his stuff.
“When I was there, he played a couple of cup games, but he was a player I looked at and thought he would score goals in the Premier League.
“He always scored goals for the 21s, was always sharp in training and it didn’t seem like he is out of place.”
England forward Kane, who has scored just once for Spurs this season, in last week’s four-goal hammering of Stoke City, was just a kid in the youth ranks at White Hart Lane when Defoe was their main man.
Defoe recalls: “There was a time when he was with his mates in his area and I remember driving through. And I just saw these kids playing five-a-side. I was with my mate and I stopped and said ‘let’s just get involved’.
“I said to them ‘I want to play. Let’s do this proper. If you want to kick me, kick me’.
“We just had a kick around, then I got back in my car and went. It was years later that Harry said to me ‘I was one of those kids. I was playing’.
“I remember when I left the club he said to me – ‘I want the number 18 shirt’. I told him to take it. I said that if I was going to give it to anyone it would be you, you’re a natural goalscorer who will score goals.”
It is not just Kane who Defoe is keen to see back at his former employers.
He continued: “It will be nice to see the boys – Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and all the rest of them.
“Kyle was playing when I was there and Kyle was just coming into the team. They are all great players.
“It is special to be going back. I had many years there and I have a lot of friends there, not only the players but also the staff. So it will be special.
“Even when I was at Toronto, I used to go back and watch the games. So it will be special.”
When asked what his biggest memory of his time at White Hart Lane is, Defoe joked: “143 goals. Great memories. So many different memories.
“All of the different players that I played with. They have good fans, amazing fans, if I am honest.
“I’m looking forward to going back. It’s nice to go back when the players like Harry, Tommy Carroll are still there.
“It will be nice to see some of the younger players who have come through to the first team.”