Paul Pogba would have been scrutinised much more by the English media and fans if he had refused to attend training, according to former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand, after Harry Kane allegedly skipped Tottenham’s Monday session.
Kane was expected back at Spurs to begin his pre-season preparations following a post-Euro 2020 break, but widespread media reports claim he did not show up.
Spurs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It has been suggested by some publications that Kane believes he has a gentleman’s agreement with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that would allow him to leave the club this month.
Kane, a product of Spurs’ academy, hinted before Euro 2020 that he felt he needed to leave in order to win trophies, and he has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester City ever since.
But Ferdinand has seemingly been surprised by the neutral coverage of the situation, suggesting Pogba – a frequent target for criticism by certain sections of the English media – would have endured rougher treatment were he to behave similarly at United, with recent reports claiming he also wants out.
Writing on his official Twitter account, Ferdinand said: “Let Paul Pogba not turn up for Man Utd training and see how the English media and fans go mad!
“Helicopters and police forces [would be] out searching [for] his location immediately.
“And I’m not saying that Kane and his tactics to leave are wrong (if we are to believe what’s being said). Harry wants trophies and he isn’t getting any younger.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher disagreed with Ferdinand’s belief that Kane was not necessarily in the wrong if the reports were true, however.
Kane has scored more times in the Premier League (166) for Spurs than any other player, while only Sergio Aguero (184), Wayne Rooney (183) and Thierry Henry (175) have greater goal hauls for a single club than the 28-year-old.
And Carragher feels Kane – who signed a six-year contract in 2018 – could put his legacy at the club in jeopardy by trying to force a transfer.
“I disagree, it is wrong not to turn up for training,” Carragher wrote in response to Ferdinand.
“We all know he wants to go and can totally understand why. But Harry should not ruin his name or relationship with the supporters who idolise him just to get the move. Spurs will always be HIS club.”
Kane finished as the Premier League’s top scorer with 23 goals in 2020-21.
He also set up 14 to become only the second player in the Premier League era to top the charts for both goals and assists in a single season, the other being Andy Cole for Newcastle United in 1993-94.
Kane then finished the Euros with four goals – only Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick (five each) managed more – to draw level with Gary Lineker as his nation’s leading scorer at major tournaments.