LONDON (Reuters) – The acclaim for the goalscoring feats of Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane has been the deafening soundtrack to the festive football programme as even Arsene Wenger, manager of the club that let him out of their grasp, joined in on Wednesday.
Arsenal boss Wenger once admitted to being “a bit angry” when he learned how his club had let a nine-year-old Kane leave after a year in the Gunners’ junior ranks only for the boy to become a phenomenon for their nearest and biggest rivals.
Yet, after Kane became Europe’s premier marksman of the year on Tuesday with his 56th goal of 2017 in Spurs’ 5-2 thrashing of Southampton, even Wenger was in the mood to salute the one that got away up to the other end of London’s Seven Sisters Road.
“He has done it and would I have predicted it? I would modestly say no,” Wenger admitted, when asked about Kane’s remarkable feat on Wednesday.
“What he has done is beat people like (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo, who are unbeatable in my head, so what he has done is absolutely fantastic.”
Whereas Messi, who has scored 54 for Barcelona and Argentina, and Ronaldo (53 for Real Madrid and Portugal), made their hay in La Liga, the England striker’s achievement was even more special because it was set in a more competitive Premier League, reckoned Wenger.
“Yes, that is why I say that what he has achieved is absolutely amazing,” said Wenger, echoing the plaudits that suggest the blossoming of the 24-year-old is a reason for English football to be particularly cheerful going into a World Cup year.
Alan Shearer, whose calendar year record of 36 Premier League goals that Kane broke against Southampton en route to taking his tally with a hat-trick to 39, warned that Kane’s heroics would only heighten the interest of giants like Real Madrid and Barcelona.
“It’s inevitable they will come calling or come asking, because he’s that good a player and wouldn’t look out of place in either of those teams,” Shearer, the Premier League’s record scorer, told the BBC.
He felt it was not a given that Kane would leave Spurs, though, unless they failed to win any silverware.
“That could be a huge call if Tottenham in two or three years haven’t won a trophy and his form is still as good as it is,” said Shearer. “Then he’ll have a big question to answer, because I’m sure the big boys will come calling.”
(Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Rex Gowar)