Tottenham's Harry Kane: Mauricio Pochettino is 'ruthless if you cross him'
LONDON -- Harry Kane has offered an insight into Mauricio Pochettino's uncompromising style of leadership, telling ESPN FC that the Tottenham Hotspur manager is "ruthless if you cross him."
Pochettino has cared little for reputations or price tags in shaping Tottenham's squad from a group of expensively-assembled underachievers into serious contenders for the Premier League title.
Members of the current squad regularly say how much they enjoy playing for Pochettino and he is the biggest reason why 11 of them -- including Kane -- have signed new long-term contracts this season.
Some of the players who have not made it at the club, however, have found him distant and unrelenting -- something Kane has alluded to.
The striker also said the Argentine, who tends to be cautious and avoids controversy on camera, has two distinctive sides to his personality -- a cold calmness and a fiery passion.
"A lot of the time he's calm, but he's very passionate. If he feels the problem isn't the game but is about our attitude, he'll tell us we need to work harder or play harder," Kane told ESPN FC at an event held for the Lucozade Sport Made To Move campaign, aiming to get one million people moving by 2020. "He's emotional. And that's what we want -- we all feel the same. We all want to win, we've all got the same goal.
"He's got two sides to him. He's very respectful -- if you respect him, he'll show you respect back. If you work hard for him, he'll give you his time. But he's ruthless if you cross him. If you don't want to work for him and you don't want to be a team player, you won't be part of the team."
Kane added: "You can see how well we've progressed. We're one of the best teams in the league. Before [Pochettino arrived] we were playing for Champions League places, whereas now we're trying to win the title.
"The manager has done what needed to be done. He had faith in the young players, he had faith in players he could trust. It wasn't just about getting experience or players who had been there and done that.
"He had an idea in his mind of how he wanted to play -- with a high-press and a high work-rate -- and he knew he was going to get that from certain players.
"He brought some players in, he brought a few us up from the youth team and he got the balance spot on. We've got a very young team, a very strong team, we're hungry and we want to win. Hopefully we can go on and win some titles and trophies."
Kane, 23, is yet to cross Pochettino but it took time for him to become one of the manager's most trusted players from their first meeting at the beginning of preseason in 2014.
Pochettino had joined the club from Southampton and Kane was a 19-year-old with six Premier League starts to his name, and behind Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado in the pecking order.
Kane knew immediately they would click, but Pochettino, who the striker regards as one of the best managers in the game, initially put his faith in experience, naming Adebayor as vice-captain and main striker with Soldado as back-up.
"When I first met him, I knew he was a respectful guy," Kane said. "Straight away I knew he was someone I could get on with but only if I was working hard, respecting him and being part of the team. That's what he wanted.
"He wanted players who would put in extra work for him and he'd show them love back. That's what we've got now. We've got a good relationship, great respect for one another and I think he's one of the best managers in the world -- not just tactically on the pitch but off the pitch as well, in the way he manages his players. He's a great manager to work under.
"I was young at the time -- Adebayor and Soldado were here and they were first choice. I was working hard to try and get that spot. It didn't work straight away, I had to wait my turn and I wasn't in squads at times. I went to ask him what I could do better and what I could do to get in the starting XI. He told me a few bits here and there, but mainly to keep working hard. I did, and I got my chance -- I managed to go from there."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.