LONDON, (Reuters) – Harry Kane rounded off a sensational 2017 by scoring a record number of Premier League goals and hat-tricks in a calendar year, as well as toppling Lionel Messi as the top scorer in Europe as a rampant Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Southampton 5-2 yesterday.
The England striker followed up his treble over Burnley on Saturday by heading in a Christian Eriksen free kick in the 22nd minute for his 37th league goal of 2017, beating Alan Shearer’s 22-year-old record for the most goals in England’s top flight in a calendar year.
Kane then overtook Messi as the top scorer of the year in Europe for club and country by tapping in Son Heung min’s low cross in the 39th minute. He also became the first player in seven years outside of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to finish top scorer in the continent.
“I think both achievements are massive,” said Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“He beats Shearer then if you see the list of the last seven years it’s Cristiano and Messi, today it’s a player from Tottenham. We feel this achievement also belongs to us, it’s fantastic for Harry, he wanted to share that happiness with all of us.”
In the second half, Kane scored his side’s fifth goal of the game to become the first player to hit six Premier League hat-tricks in one year.
“For me he is world class, Messi and Ronaldo have different characteristics, but if you think about a striker in his position, who is better than him?”, Pochettino added when asked if Kane could be compared to the Portuguese and the Argentine.
“It’s difficult to say who is the best but he has showed everyone that he is one of the best.”
Impressive strikes from Dele Alli and Son had further stretched Tottenham’s lead in the second half, while Sofiane Boufal hit back for struggling Southampton to make it 4-1, before the relentless Kane struck once again with a classy chipped finish over Fraser Forster in the 67th minute.
Substitute Dusan Tadic got another consolation goal for the visitors, who are 13th on 19 points and only three clear of the relegation zone. Spurs provisionally climbed up to fourth on 37 points, although Liverpool could overtake them again if they beat Swansea City later on Tuesday.
Southampton were without top scorer Charlie Austin following a suspension for violent conduct, while coach Mauricio Pellegrino again left defender Virgil van Dijk out of the squad.
The Argentine had to face the away supporters calling him for him to be sacked during the game, and he criticised his players for their attitude.
“I want to see a team with character fighting and playing for the ball,” he said.
“Sometimes you do well, sometimes you do not but the minimum is to show this from the beginning. The wrong thing is we waited until the Tottenham goal to react.”