LONDON • Harry Kane has been Tottenham Hotspur’s leading marksman for the last six seasons, but after becoming the first Englishman to make four assists in one Premier League match at Southampton yesterday, the striker showed there is more to his game than goals.
With Gareth Bale signed to provide further competition for places in attack at Spurs, the current strike force made a real statement in the 5-2 win at St Mary’s.
Son Heung-min will grab the headlines for his four-goal haul and a first Premier League hat-trick, but the quality of the service also deserves high praise.
Each Kane assist was impressive in its own right, with the final pass for Son’s fourth the pick of the bunch as he clipped a curling cross into the South Korean’s path on the run without even looking.
“Four amazing assists from Harry, he deserves the man of the match award,” Son said of Kane, who scored the fifth goal.
“We have been working for five seasons together now. We know what we like and work hard on our relationship on and off the pitch. Hopefully, there are many more goals to come.”
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho was equally fulsome in his praise.
“In the second half, Harry Kane killed the game, the way he was dropping, he allowed Son Heung-min into attacking spaces,” he said.
“He is man of the match for what he did for the team. Sometimes people think strikers just score goals, but he creates a whole new dynamic they (Saints) could not resolve.”
Before the trip to Southampton, Kane, for all his brilliance in front of goal, had provided only eight league assists in the last three seasons. In comparison to other leading central strikers in the Premier League – Sergio Aguero (17), Jamie Vardy (14) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (11) – that assist return was not impressive.
However, with Son in red-hot form on one side, and Bale determined to make an impression on the other, Kane’s creative talents could become a more regular feature of Tottenham’s play.
4 Son Heung-min is the first Asian to score four in a match in the Premier League.
The Spurs captain felt that Son’s pace and movement was certain to exploit Southampton’s risky high defensive line. “We knew there was going to be space behind and we were talking about Sonny getting in there if I dropped deeper,” he said.
“For one of the passes I didn’t look, I just knew he would be running behind. That’s the connection we’ve been building and it’s nice to see him finish them off.”
The scoreline flattered Tottenham, who had only five shots on target – two fewer than Southampton, who had two goals from Danny Ings – but their clinical finishing made all the difference.
“Our heads dropped after their goal in the first half and we gave in too easy,” Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said. “The defending was a disaster.”
Meanwhile, Dele Alli’s Spurs future is in doubt after he was dropped for the match.
The midfielder was substituted at half-time of Tottenham’s 1-0 loss to Everton last weekend and was missing from the squad for their Europa League 2-1 qualifying win against Lokomotiv Plovdiv on Thursday.
Mourinho suggested there was no guarantee he would get back in the team any time soon.
“No. We have a huge squad, a squad with numbers that are very difficult to manage,” he said.
“We have too many players for some positions and some of them are paying the price for this.”
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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