It’s been a rollercoaster week for English superstar Harry Kane, but the 27-year-old ended it on a high as he claimed a landmark personal record.
Kane headed home from a Lucas Moura corner to score his 200th goal for Tottenham Hotspur in a 3-1 win at Bulgarian side Ludogorets in the Europa League.
“Good win and a proud night for me reaching 200 goals,” tweeted Kane. “More to come.”
Kane’s landmark goal came days after he won a controversial penalty in Spurs’ Premier League win over Brighton. One leading former professional player said Kane had “bought the penalty.”
His opener against Ludogorets on Thursday night meant he became just the third player to score over 200 goals for the club in all competitions alongside Jimmy Greaves and Bobby Smith.
From his first goal for Tottenham nine years ago in the Europa League against Shamrock Rovers, it’s been quite the nine years for the England international, and he hopes there are a “few more to come” after reaching the milestone on his 300th appearance for the club.
“Time goes so quick. It feels like just yesterday that I was scoring that first goal for Spurs,” he said afterwards.
“It’s a great achievement to reach 200 goals but for sure, hopefully there’s a few more left. Let’s keep them coming. These are all great things but I always say, they’re kind of hard to take in while you’re playing. Once you’ve finished your career, you can take them all in.”
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‘Very dangerous action’
But while the week has ended with Kane being rightfully praised for his prowess in front of goal, he wasn’t been discussed so positively just a few days prior.
During Tottenham’s 2-1 victory over Brighton on Sunday, Kane earned a penalty for deliberately positioning himself in the way of Adam Lallana under a high ball so that contact was unavoidable and that the Brighton player risked landing and causing himself an injury, an action which many accused him of being dangerous and also a dive.
Referee Graham Scott initially awarded a free-kick, but VAR official Jonathan Moss then reviewed the incident which occurred just inside the Brighton box.
“From my point of view the ball was in the air, I’ve tried to put my body in between the player to shield the ball as if you would from a goal kick,” Kane told Sky Sports website on Wednesday.
“He has jumped into the back of me with quite a bit of force, which obviously put me to the floor.
“The ref gave it as a free-kick, VAR gave it as a foul, from my point of view I can understand maybe it’s a 50-50 decision, it’s not a definite foul you get all the time. But you definitely get five out of 10 of them in a game.
“Just the fact it was turned into a penalty it then becomes more of a talking point, but that’s why VAR is there. They have a look at it, they decide if they think it’s a foul, the ref and the VAR both did and that’s why I got the penalty.”
Former England internationals Martin Keown and Gary Lineker were amongst those criticizing Kane for both diving for the penalty and being unsafe. Former Tottenham striker Lineker said Kane “bought” that penalty.
Ahead of Thursday’s Europa League game, Spurs manager Jose Mourinho came to the defense of his star striker, saying attackers from other big clubs are on the floor “when somebody blows on them” and they don’t get criticized nearly as much.
“Harry Kane win a penalty?” Mourinho said in a press conference on Wednesday. “Perhaps you’re speaking about players at other clubs, and they do it and they do it so well, but for sure you’re not speaking about Harry Kane. Harry Kane was in a position to control the ball in a dangerous position and Lallana comes in, a very dangerous action, and commits a foul. Lallana was reckless. He made a mistake.
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“Speak about Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, clever guys where somebody blows on them and they are on the floor. Speak about those guys, not Harry Kane. When I say I want my team to be clever I’m not speaking about winning penalties, I’m talking about winning 2-1 against a very difficult Brighton and controlling the end of the game.”
Kane’s incident came on the same weekend when Mohamed Salah earned a penalty against West Ham, something which Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp denied was a dive.