Harry Kane is “one of the best world”, admits Andros Townsend, but a former team-mate of the Tottenham striker admits he did not see such a rapid rise coming.
A prolific figure in north London has become one of the finest frontmen in the Premier League, with his value now recognised across the planet.
A remarkable haul of goals, which currently stands at 181 in 278 appearances, has seen Kane become a talismanic presence for Spurs.
Kane is also England captain and a man who regularly finds himself at the centre of speculation regarding big-money transfers.
The 26-year-old would not look out of place at any of the leading sides in Europe, with plenty prepared to buy into his current ability and future potential.
Townsend forms part of Kane’s ever-growing fan club, having stepped out of the same youth system at Tottenham which produced a modern day icon.
The now Crystal Palace winger concedes that he could not have predicted that a former colleague would scale such heights, with patience and hard work having delivered rich rewards.
Townsend, who left Spurs in January 2016, told talkSPORT: “Harry is one of the best strikers in the world and I didn’t see it coming, but he always had the foundations to do it.
“From the first time I saw him he’s always had an incredible ability to score goals.
“Maybe he didn’t have the mobility he does now, or maybe he was half a yard slower, but he always possessed that ability to score left foot, right foot, from any position on the pitch.
“And in the last three or four years he’s been in the gym, he’s bulked up, he’s got quicker, he’s got stronger, he can head the ball, he can run.
“He’s pretty much an all-round player now and one of the best in the world, and rightly so.”
Kane has added a further 17 goals to his Spurs tally this season, but is stuck on the sidelines at present.
Having undergone hamstring surgery in January, a long road to recovery is being taken in.
He is proving to be a big miss for Jose Mourinho and Tottenham, with Heung-min Son also injured and no striking additions made in January, while England boss Gareth Southgate is also sweating on the fitness of his skipper heading towards Euro 2020.