Richard Buxton: Record means little if Kane doesn't win titles
Kane may have eclipsed both Shearer and Messi's marks, but it may still not be good enough
What if this turns out to be as good as it gets for Harry Kane?
Even as a record-breaker, the Tottenham Hotspur striker may struggle to be remembered as the most prolific English player in generations after his side's 5-2 win over Southampton.
|(Harry Kane 22, 39, 67, Dele Alli 49, Son Heung Min 51)||(Sofiane Boufal 64, Dusan Tadic 82)|
History beckoned at Wembley last night and Kane duly answered its call as ironic chants of "one-season wonder" echoed across England's national stadium.
Not only did he eclipse Alan Shearer as the highest-scoring English Premier League player in a calendar year, he also saw off Lionel Messi as the leading Europe-based marksman for club and country in 2017, reaching his 56-goal haul in 11 games fewer than the Barcelona talisman's 54.
Harry Kane is the first player to score six EPL hat-tricks in a calendar year.
Spurs have scored 92 EPL goals this year, the third most by a team in a calendar year in the competition, behind Man City in
2017 (101) and Man Utd in 2000 (95).
These have been a memorable 12 months for Kane, further elevating what is already promising to be a golden age for the EPL; his prolificacy is now unrivalled at a time when Manchester City are on course to rewrite the history books.
It has been a fantastic year. To get compared to those players — the Messis and Shearers — is what it is all about. To get another hat-trick is a great way to end the year...Harry Kane on his record-breaking year
But therein lies the 24-year-old's great dilemma.
It was hard not to think about it, being level going into the game. I wanted to win but of course I wanted to score as a striker. Getting that record was a great feeling.Kane on how he approached the Southampton match
He could continue to eclipse Shearer for both club and country as well as claiming countless other milestones set by the EPL's great and good, yet it still may not be enough.
First (Alan) Shearer's record and now (Lionel) Messi's total is surpassed. Well played @HKane. Absolutely magnificent achievement.Former England striker Gary Lineker praises Harry Kane on Twitter
Lighting up a major international tournament, as his predecessor did at Euro 1996, offers even fewer guarantees against a wealth of competition at next summer's World Cup.
You've had a magnificent 2017 @HKane. You deserve to hold the record of most Premier League goals in a calendar year. Well done and keep up the good work.Former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer, whose 22-year-old English Premier League goalscoring record was broken by Kane yesterday
Unlike Shearer, personal accolades threaten to be the sum of Kane's accomplishments.
Fair dues to Harry Kane. An insatiable appetite for goals.Commentator Jim Beglin
As with Gareth Bale before him in this particular corner of north London, he risks becoming another destined to go down as one of the greatest players to never lift the EPL title.
Wouldn't be right if @HKane didn't cap off an incredible year without another hat-trick.Former Spurs man Jermaine Jenas, before Kane completed his hat-trick
There is a reason why his predecessor is remembered in the EPL's annals of history more fondly than the likes of Bale and Steven Gerrard.
Winning the title guarantees a level of respect of adoration which, though slightly myopic, does not translate beyond their clubs.
Gerrard lifted virtually every major honour with Liverpool, including the Champions League, but it is the one that got away which continues to plague his playing legacy.
Kane is cut from the same cloth as the Liverpool legend as one of his boyhood club's own.
The former midfielder was tormented by his side's inability to end an elusive wait to become English champions again which is fast approaching a three-decade drought.
Temptation also burrowed into his brain when the prospect of leaving regularly arose.
At times, the parallels with Gerrard have been striking; most of Spurs' offerings against the Saints were passed up almost sacrificially to Kane in a growing belief that he is capable of rising to the challenge even when his teammates are far from their collective peak.
Mauricio Pochettino's side arguably have a greater fighting chance with a future built around several promising players, rather than a lone star as proved the case for large parts of Gerrard's Anfield career, and are also backing it up with tangible evidence.
In Kane and fellow goal scorers Dele Alli and Son Heung Min, they have proved already this season that they can hold their own against the biggest and best Europe has to offer.
Pochettino's steadfast commitment to the Lilywhites' evolution offers hopes that they can stave off the threat of Champions League mainstays, both in the EPL and overseas, prising away their brightest and most brilliant talents in the months and years ahead.