The England front man confirmed his place as the Premier League’s top scorer for the second season in a row and Spurs must match his talents
If Florentino Perez is thinking about replacing Karim Benzema this summer, then he could do worse than chuck another €100 million Tottenham’s way. Harry Kane is every bit as devastating right now as Gareth Bale was the summer he left for Real Madrid, quietly becoming the best talent this country has produced in a generation.
His 29 league goals — from only 30 matches played — have brought him the Premier League top scorer award for the second season running. A player of his ability deserves the league title to go along with it sometime soon.
A final-day hat-trick against relegated Hull City — all scored with his left foot — took him decisively clear of Romelu Lukaku and confirmed a striker in supreme form and in supreme confidence. He departed with 15 minutes to go with applause from all four corners of the ground. No mean feat in an away fixture and evidence that the Hull fans were acknowledging that they were in the presence of greatness.
The only real danger for Spurs is that Kane outgrows the club. The rate of improvement in this squad has been pronounced under Mauricio Pochettino and plenty of other Tottenham talents are ripening. None is at the level of Kane, though, and Spurs must make sure he knows his demands can be met by a club growing in power.
Too often Spurs have lost players to giant clubs in the past — like Bale and Luka Modric to Real Madrid, and Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov to Manchester United. This was supposed to be the season when Tottenham cast off their ‘Spursy-ness’ and converted their potential into something more tangible, to prove their players could achieve success together.
That hasn’t happened despite the progress. Their title charge ended at West Ham and, just a matter of days before that, they were dumped out of the FA Cup at Wembley. But there is still enough encouragement in this team’s play to convince many that a new epoch is just over the horizon.
Kane is one of them and it’s got to stay that way. Spurs conducted the best bit of business this season when they convinced Kane to renew his contract and lead the club into their new home, and their new era. He is an emblem, a name that deserves now to be associated with a team that can match not only his current talent and application but his capacity for improvement.
Sceptics will point towards Kane’s modest goal-scoring record against the very top teams and he must crack the conundrum of extra attention from the best defences before he can truly be considered ‘Galactico’ level.
He is closer than most, however, and in a country that is quick to pin hopes to any hot native prospect going, it’s astonishing that more people don’t realise they are in the presence of a world-class talent.
“He’s just a one-season wonder,” the Spurs fans ironically sang in the away corner at Hull City’s KCOM Stadium. Well, he’s registered 21, 25 and 29 goals in the past three Premier League seasons. One more campaign should see him race to 100 league goals before the age of 25.
Scoring 29 goals in 38 matches this season would have been a considerable feat but remember that Kane has missed eight games through injury. Three of those were draws with league lower lights that ultimately left Spurs six points further from Chelsea than they otherwise could have been.
Many sneered at Kane after he made his breakthrough in the 2014-15 season. Once defences work him out, it was reasoned, he’ll fade back to obscurity. Loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester City did not give the impression that Spurs had a striker on their hands who could obliterate the Premier League season after season. But he got his chance — and he took it.
There has been no complacency; no looking back. It is frightening to think of how many other Harry Kanes are out there floating between under-23 and first-team level who simply cannot get their break. Kane is evidence that the best will flourish no matter the size of the club.
Kane’s goals against Hull went alongside the four he scored against Leicester City on Thursday night and the one he got in the White Hart Lane farewell last week against Manchester United. Don’t forget the pass he played to Son Heung-min in the run-up to Dele Alli’s goal either. This is a total package — striking and playmaking all in one.
At the end of this season there isn’t a striker in the world on a streak as hot as Harry Kane — not Cristiano Ronaldo, not Lionel Messi, not Robert Lewandowski, not Gonzalo Higuain. He’s going places, but Spurs must make sure that it’s not the Bernabeu or anywhere else.