Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane applauds the fans at the end of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane in London, on April 30, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL /
Harry Kane insists he still has room for improvement after the Tottenham striker’s treble set a Premier League record and took him above Lionel Messi to finish as Europe’s leading scorer.
Kane’s 22nd-minute header in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Southampton at Wembley was his 37th goal of the year, moving him past Alan Shearer’s previous Premier League record, which was set when he played for Blackburn in 1995.
But Kane wasn’t happy to settle for that milestone and he scored twice more to claim his eighth treble of the year.
His second goal took him to 55 for club and country in 2017 — lifting him above Barcelona great Messi to become Europe’s top-scorer over the last 12 months in the five major countries (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France).
Messi, who has 54 goals this year, can’t catch Kane as Barcelona don’t play again until 2018.
To sum up the magnitude of the achievement, it’s the first time either Messi or Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo have not led the way in nine years.
“I’m very proud. Messi and Ronaldo have dominated football for so long and they’re two of the greatest players ever so it’s an honour to even be compared to them,” said Kane.
“I’ll keep working harder, it’s about finding little percents to get better and doing things on the training ground to make you better.
“There’s a great staff here and a great manager here who will keep pushing me, don’t you worry about that!”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to Kane, who is now one of the most sought-after players in world football and put him the same bracket and Ronaldo and Messi.
“It’s a massive achievement and we feel it’s our achievement, something we share with his team-mates and the club,” he said.
“At 24 to score these goals. Not only a massive talent, how he is as a person and a professional it’s amazing to work with him.
“For me, he’s world class. Of course Messi and Cristiano are different. He’s one of the best.
“It’s difficult to say he’s the best but he’s shown to everyone he’s one of the best.
“The secret is work hard every day. That is the big secret of the big players like Harry, Ronaldo and Messi and company. You cannot afford not to work everyday.”
Kane might have been the game’s hot topic, but Dele Alli showed signs of rediscovering his best form, scoring one and creating two for Kane and another for Son Heung-Min.
“I’m happy he scored and helped the team, but we expect more and we will push him to be better,” added Pochettino.
Southampton scored consolations through Sofiane Boufal and Dusan Tadic.
By that point they had been blown away and are heading into a relegation fight after just one win in 11 games.
“It’s important to know how people react,” said Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino.
“You can realise how people really are. Which are the players who want to fight 100 per cent for the club. It will help me draw a lot of conclusions.”
Pellegrino is resigned to losing defender Virgil van Dijk next month, with Manchester City favourites for his signature, as he once again left him the Dutchman out in a move which backfired.
“I decided it’s best for the team as there around there a lot speculation,” he added.
“We win, draw and lose, with and without Virgil. In this squad I have a lot of players that can play. We are used to changes.
“We can’t use this as an excuse. We have to wait until January. I can’t control the market and we’ll see what happens.”