Spurs striker Harry Kane hopes 2016 will be even better
As 2015 comes to an end, Harry Kane can reflect on a year that could hardly have gone much better.
It began with a brace in a 5-3 home win over Chelsea on January 1, followed by another decisive double as Spurs beat Arsenal in the North London Derby in February.
The Spurs striker scored 79 seconds into his full England debut in March and picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year award in April – and he has gone on to score 11 times for Tottenham and twice for England so far this season.
His latest strike came on his 100th appearance for Spurs as the Lilywhites triumphed 2-0 at Southampton on Saturday and moved into the top four – and it leaves him with 30 goals for club and country in the calendar year.
“It’s a nice round number but it doesn’t stop here,” said Kane. “It’s obviously been a fantastic year, I’ve loved every minute of it, but it’s about working hard. I’m looking for next year now to be even better. Hopefully we can keep pushing on as a team, keep getting results and push up that league.
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“Hopefully 2016’s even better. I’m 22 now, I’m looking to get better and better as I get older and get more experience. The Tottenham team’s looking very good at the moment so I’m very happy with the way things are going and hopefully 2016 brings more success and joy.
“It’s going to be a big year for us, it’s a good opportunity for us this season so we’re looking forward to the challenge.
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“A lot of teams are getting unexpected results and we’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep working hard. There’s still a long way to go, there’s a lot of tough games between now and the end but we’re full of confidence.
“We had a disappointing result last week [against Newcastle] but we came straight back with a good three points away from home, so now it’s about winning over the Christmas period and really pushing up that league.”
Tottenham laboured for most of the first half at Southampton and were lucky not to be losing as the interval approached.
But, in the 40th minute, Dele Alli prodded the ball to Kane – taking a whack for his trouble – and then watched as the Spurs striker wriggled out of a tight area, beat Virgil van Dijk and bore down on goal before finishing coolly.
“It’s definitely one of the better ones I’ve scored,” said Kane. “A few players took one for the team on the way to it, there were a few dodgy challenges flying in. But I was delighted to break through and I found myself one and one and I was very happy to see it find the back of the net.
“I think the way the game was going, we were under the cosh a bit. Southampton were playing well and sometimes you ride your luck a bit, be a bit brave and I managed to sneak through the defence.
“We hadn’t won in the Premier League in three games and we drew a couple before this so it was a must-win game for us I felt. The players knew that and we’re very happy – to win 2-0 away from home against Southampton is a very good result.
“I knew before the game that it was my 100th appearance. It was a very proud day and to score and win just makes it that little bit sweeter.”
Kane has now scored nine Premier League goals this season, leaving him joint fifth in the top scorers’ chart – but he still has some way to go to match Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy’s tally of 15.
“Jamie’s been doing great, full credit to him,” said Kane. “He’s come in this season and done really well. All the other strikers have been trying to keep up with him.
“He’s set the standard high and fast but there’s still a long way to go. As a striker you’ve just got to keep working hard and trying to improve and that’s what I’m doing, and slowly sneaking up the goal tally, and I’m happy.”
Tottenham’s next challenge is to bank all three points when they host Norwich on Boxing Day, having suffered a home defeat against Newcastle in their last game at White Hart Lane.
“Newcastle was probably a kick up the butt that we needed because we drew a couple of games,” said Kane. “Maybe we were just getting a bit complacent so that maybe woke us up a bit.
“We definitely won’t be doing that against Norwich. They’ve had a good result away from home against Man United so they’ll be full of confidence, but we’ve got to go and try to win the game for sure.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs