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A view to the future - Herbie Kane

Continuing the series looking at the Liverpool youngsters who are aiming to become household names in the years ahead, we look at Doncaster Rovers loanee Herbie Kane.


It is fair to say that the 19yo midfielder has made quite an impression on the Rovers faithful with a number of their passionate supporters stating he is already one of the top players in League One.


Doncaster season ticket holders Mark Railton, Scott Hibbett, George Kefali and James Carlyle shared their views on the encouraging progress that the youngster has made at their club so far. 


TLW’s Jason Harris asks the questions…


What were your first impressions of Herbie Kane when he arrived at the club?


MR- I wasn't sure if (Doncaster manager) Grant McCann had done the right thing in taking a chance on a young midfielder for such a tough division, especially when a lot of teams go for big strong central midfielders. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily he slotted in and for me he would now be the first name on the team sheet every week. He has been outstanding since arriving and if he could add goals to his game he would be the best player in the division. 




Have you seen steady improvements in his game from the early part of the season to now, and if so what are they?


MR- His ability to hang onto the ball in tight situations. He never flaps and always seems to wriggle free and release his pass. Think since he has come in, he has grown in stature and confidence and has now got the belief that he can do anything he wants when in possession of the ball. He’s also not shy at putting his foot in either. 


What is the one key part of Herbie's game that you really like?


SH - He always seems to have so much time, he is always wanting the ball in tight spaces or with the opposition on his back and for someone at such a young age, that is impressive. He rarely gives the ball away and is not afraid to put his foot in and win back possession for the team. So far this season he is the leading player in that category in League One.


GK- I just love how technical he is. He’s a standout player in this league for how quickly he can make a decision to pass or dribble on, his quick feet and determination really don’t get the credit they deserve.


MR- His calmness in possession of the ball. Herbie never panics and 90% of the time makes the right decision.


In your opinion, what is the one main improvement he can make?


SH- Herbie is not fully-grown yet so he has the opportunity to grow a few more inches in the next year. Like most players who make it at the top level, it's pace that they need. While Herbie is certainly not you would define as slow, if he can add an extra yard, it will be very handy.


What he lacks in pure speed, he makes up for with his ability to shield the ball which was very similar to (former Man Utd junior) Richie Wellens when we had him in a couple of stints a few years back. I think those players who are nurtured at top clubs learn to do that well - learn to use it and shield the ball under pressure. Those qualities really stand out with players who drop down from the Premier League into the Championship or League 1.


JC- The one improvement he can make is probably scoring more goals. He just needs to keep doing what he is doing. Keep progressing and working hard because it is showing in his performances that he is working hard on the training field. I have no doubt at all if he continues this he will make it into Liverpool’s first team. 


Is there a performance by Herbie that stands out for you so far this season?


JC- I think the first few performances took everyone by surprise as we weren’t expecting him to be that good and now the performances he puts in are fantastic. However, even though we lost to Sunderland 1-0, he controlled the game for me. We all know what Lee Cattermole is like, and Herbie had him in his pocket all game. You would have thought Herbie was the experienced pro and not Lee.  


GK- His standout performance this season has to be Chorley away in the FA Cup 1st round. Bagging the only 2 goals of the game, including a peach from outside the box to save our managers arse in all fairness. That and he drew a very nasty foul which led to an opposition red card which I still can’t believe wasn’t given as a penalty but a free kick.


Who does he link up well with in the Rovers team, and do you think his presence has made you a better team this season?


GK- I think there’s no doubt that Kane’s presence has sparked something in everyone else and as a central playmaker he’s at the heart of most of our play. With being so technically gifted, he’s exactly what we need to play possession football. He links up well with both (Thomas) Rowe and (Ben) Whiteman beside him in the midfield in passing and movement along the pitch.


How do you think Grant McCann has worked with Herbie so far this season?


GK- Grant McCann seems to praise him a lot and I believe he would be interested in a season long loan extension for Herbie too. 


Taking the first step into professional ranks can be difficult for any youngster, so what do you think makes Doncaster a good club for players from Premier League youth academies to spend time at.


JC- I think if you look at other professionals who have been here in their younger days and you look at them now, they have all gone on to play at a higher level. Jordan Mutch, he was on loan here and he ended up playing for Crystal Palace and QPR in the Premier League.


The majority of the time when people leave our club, it is for better things. Richie Wellens, he left to join Leicester, George Friend left to join Middlesbrough, James Husband came through our youth team, he went to Norwich. So I think it does show we treat our younger players well and hopefully put them in good stead for their careers.  

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As fans weve been rightly swept up by the performances of Harry Wilson at Derby but I think Herbie's play at Doncaster has been overlooked sowewhat. I know it is a League down from the Championship, but he is virtually MOTM on a weekly basis every despite being kicked from pillar to post. Great write-up from the Bristol Press about his game against Rovers yesterday.


Doncaster Rovers produced a dominant display as they defeated Bristol Rovers 4-0 at The Memorial Ground.


The star performer who caught the eye was Herbie Kane, who will have savoured the victory a little more than the other Doncaster players.


On-loan Liverpool Herbie Kane has been making waves for Doncaster this season, and it has seen him nominated for the FIFA Golden Boy award this year. He was nominated alongside players like Kylian Mbappe, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Ben Woodburn.


The victory will be even sweeter for Kane thanks to his roots. Despite being on-loan from Liverpool, Kane was born in Bristol and is a massive Bristol City fan.


He was part of the Academy on the red side of Bristol until he was 14 when he was signed by Liverpool in 2014.


Comparisons have been made to former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard with Kane making driving runs forward as well as being excellent in the air. Kane has represented England at Under 17’s including being named in the European Championships in the summer of 2015.


Kane has flourished in League One this season scoring 5 goals in 25 appearances for Doncaster this year including a brace in the FA Cup first round against Chorley, only John Marquis has scored more goals for Rovers this season. The midfielder isn’t afraid to shoot as he shown this season having scored a host of long-range goals this season. The 20-year-old signed for Donny in August and is on loan until January.


He showed just why he is so highly rated with an excellent display against Bristol Rovers where he tormented The Gas midfield and defence all afternoon. Kane looked head and shoulders above most players on the pitch from the first minute until the last.


He wanted to be involved in the game as much as possible and provided plenty of attacking support from midfield. With the ball at feet, he was exceptional with flicks and stepovers beating the Rovers defenders throughout.


When he dropped deep his range of passing was superb and set James Coppinger and Mallik Wilks away down the flanks consistently. His tenacity was evident as on multiple occasions he would be tackled to the ground but still retain possession and offload the ball to players around him.



The biggest contribution Kane made, however, was some brilliant trickery on the left side of the penalty area before he put a pin-point cross into the box for Tom Anderson to head home to give Doncaster a 3-0 lead just after half-time.


 Defensively he wasn’t as effective as he was going forward, Kane tried to get back and make tackles but needs to be a bit more assertive and stronger in the tackle. If he improves the defensive side of his game, he has all the credentials of a top player.


The victory for Grant McCann’s side sees them move into the play-off positions in League One and are now unbeaten in six games and will be looking to carry on that record when they face Scunthorpe at the Keepmoat next Saturday.


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Seen he’s just signed a new contract with us and extended his loan at Donny, but more importantly saw the photo that went with the story on the offal...


His 5 o’clock shadow is awesome. He could be in the Anthill Mob.



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Definitely a win/win for both parties. Doncaster are likely to be in and around the promotion places which will give Herbie some vital exposure in pressure games. Speak to a few Rovers fans quite regularly and he is hero worshipped there.

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Great piece.


Herbie is getting some fantastic press of late, along the lines of Harry Wilson.


Doncaster did a great job getting him on loan for the season as I dare say Stevie would have wanted him at Rangers too.

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