Mauricio Pochettino, by starting Harry Kane unremittingly regardless of the occasion, is a playing an exceedingly dangerous, yet necessary game.
Pochettino’s decision to start Harry Kane was once again proven correct, with Spurs’ precious asset scoring Spurs’ only goal against Newport County, delivering an FA Cup stay of execution. One question, unanswerable in nature, is whether Kane would have come up with the goods had he come on from the bench.
It’s a question that could stoke an endless debate among Spurs supporters. The more meaningful question, though, is when, if ever, will Pochettino rest his leading man.
If Pochettino can’t afford to rest him against a team of Newport County’s negligible pedigree, then when will Kane be able to recharge a battery that will, sooner or later, start to deplete.
It’s obvious the gaffer has no trust in Fernando Llorente, and who can blame him? The Spaniard has been an abomination since signing for Spurs in the summer. The argument that Llorente hasn’t been provided the platform to succeed is no longer valid. That ship has long since left the dock.
His listless, beggared performance against Newport is further proof of his inadequacy. Which leaves Pochettino with an unrelenting quagmire. While youthful and vibrant, Kane, like any other professional footballer, is not entirely indefatigable. And with compounding wear and tear comes increased susceptibility to injury.
Regarding Kane, I’m not sold on Pochettino’s ride-it-until-the-wheels-come-off mantra. The overt lack of strategy is palpable, caused solely because of an absence of viable alternatives.
No rest forthcoming for Kane
I can’t envision Kane being rested any time soon, so hopefully he’s able to maintain his present otherworldly form devoid of a rest in the run in. Jostling for a top four spot in the Premier League, combined with a Champions League round of 16 tie with Juventus, guarantees Kane’s interminable on-field presence.
The potential of burnout, with playing two games a week, even for a 24-year-old at peak fitness, increases considerably.
But maybe Pochettino knows something the rest of us don’t. If Kane starts in the Wembley replay against Newport on Feb. 7, a match sandwiched between playing Liverpool and Arsenal and less than a week before facing Juventus, my suspicions of him being from another planet will be confirmed.
And if that’s the case, Gareth Southgate can rest easy knowing England’s only hope of winning the World Cup is immune to a human’s imperfections.
(This piece originally featured on Tottenham HQ. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
It’s not very often you’re afforded the opportunity to watch history being made, and it’s even more rare to have the world’s best striker plying his trade for the team you support.
Such is the case in north London, with Harry Kane continually proving naysayers wrong.
Tottenham’s talisman in the best striker in the world. It’s an indisputable fact, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m not merely speaking in terms of the Premier League either.
Kane is unequivocally the world’s most valuable player. But I won’t allow my biased viewpoint to do the talking. Kane has no need for favourable prejudice, as his prolific, unprecedented numbers speak volumes.
Kane scores eighth Premier League hat trick vs. Saints
Kane, at a still-impressionable age of 24, has scored eight Premier League hat tricks. That’s more, bar Alan Shearer (11), Robbie Fowler (9) Michael Owen (8), Thierry Henry (8), than every player in the modern era. The deadly assassin’s hat trick against Southampton earlier today almost looked too easy for the domineering frontman.
It appeared, at times, that Kane was toying with a bamboozled Southampton defence. Kane’s Boxing Day hat trick cleared him of Wanye Rooney, who is stuck on seven Premier League hat tricks. Oh, and I almost neglected to mention that Rooney, at 32, is almost eight years Kane’s elder, coming to the end of a heralded career.
It’s hard to imagine how many hat tricks Kane will have in eight years. No reasonable estimate is beyond Kane’s grasp. Alan Shearer’s record of 11 is just one of the legendary striker’s records that is set to fall.
While notable, surpassing Rooney’s hat-trick total wasn’t the main talking point of today’s 5-2 demolition of Southampton.
Kane, with goals 37, 38 and 39, shattered Alan Shearer’s goal-scoring record in a calendar year. In 1995 Shearer scored 36 goals for Blackburn, the last of which against Tottenham on Dec. 30. It was a record few thought would be broken.
Shearer delivered a tweet to Kane, acknowledging Spurs man for his sensational accomplishment.
You’ve had a magnificent 2017 @HKane. You deserve to hold the record of most @premierleague goals in a calendar year. Well done and keep up the good work. 👏🏻🙋🏼♂️
That kind of positive, reinforcing sentiment is expected from a class act like Shearer. Many parallels between the two can be drawn: Both are ambassadors of the beautiful game, perpetually conducting themselves with the utmost respect, consideration, professionalism and character.
And maybe most importantly, both men unceasingly put the team before their personal brilliance. All of those attributes combine to make a perfect leader.
They are also the most well-rounded English forwards, both of whom can perform every facet of the game with proficiency and confidence.
Not even the most exorbitant price tag will suitably reflect Kane’s worth. He is invaluable to his team and country, and, regardless of how astronomical the invariable forthcoming offers are, cannot be sold.
Kane has more 2017 goals than Ronaldo, Messi
Kane is also the king of the European castle. For the first time in seven years, neither Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo will claim the honour of Europe’s top scorer.
Kane has unceremoniously disrupted their seemingly endless dominance. His 56 goals for club and country in 2017 puts him two ahead of Messi, arguably the best footballer of all time. Kane is three ahead of Ronaldo, interrupting his tiresome dominance on the world stage.
On course for third straight Golden Boot
The humble Englishman is also on course to win his third consecutive Premier League Golden Boot. His 18 top flight goals put him three ahead of Mohamed Salah, who Kane trailed by two goals before the Burnley match just three days ago.
Two consecutive hat tricks have helped Kane leapfrog Liverpool’s surprise package. And many more records, like trees in the wake of a devastating hurricane, are bound to fall on Kane’s transcendent path.
Two goals away from fourth consecutive 20-goal season
Kane is two goals away from scoring at least 20 in four consecutive seasons. That will tie him with Shearer’s consecutive 20-goal streak, which he set from 1993-1997.
Henry, who scored at least 20 goals in five consecutive seasons– from 2001-2006 – still stands alone in this particular category, for at least one more year anyway.
Another 20-goal season during the 2018-19 season and Kane will once again find himself at the top, a position he’s become accustom to.
Kane on pace to surpass Shearer as Premier League’s all-time top scorer
In a former piece about Kane’s brilliance, I mentioned that he is on pace to surpass Shearer’s all-time goal-scoring mark, the most coveted of all individual records. Shearer scored 260 Premier League goals in his venerable career.
At this rate, Kane will beat that total before his 31st birthday.
Sure, many things have to fall into place for Kane to become the Premier League’s most prolific goal scorer of all time: He has to stay in England, remain relatively healthy and continue his breakneck goal-scoring pace for eight more seasons.
His health is the only condition I’m remotely concerned with, as Spurs heavily rely on their marksman to play – and score – in almost every game.
Potential injury is the only thing that will keep the indomitable Kane from breaking what is perceived as the most untouchable Premier League record.
But on current form, nothing will stop Kane from securing his place in football lore as the Premier League’s all-time top goal scorer.
His destiny awaits with bated breath.
And so too does England’s, who relies on Kane’s leadership and goal-scoring prowess even more than his club side.
This piece originally featured on Tottenham HQ. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)