You have to go back to 2009 to find the last player that wasn’t Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to top the European goalscoring charts for a calendar year.
Back then it was Spanish striker David Villa with the duopoly of Ronaldo and Messi taking turns in winning the accolade ever since.
But 2017 has a brand new name on the list – Harry Kane.
The Tottenham and England striker’s boxing day has certainly become one to remember as he became Europe’s top goalscorer of 2017 with 56 goals courtesy of his hat-trick against Southampton.
His goalscoring exploits against the Saints also saw him break another record – the most Premier League goals scored in a calendar year now stands at 39.
The previous record was Alan Shearer’s tally of 36, which he set in 1995.Embed from Getty Images
However, as impressive as Kane’s ability to find the back of the net is, what is arguably more inspiring is his character and personality.
Many simply see a footballer banging in goals and a man who understandably loves the game.
But beneath the skills and the statistics lies someone who is the most perfect role model you could ever ask for.
Football has not always been blessed in that regard as judged by the public perception of it.Embed from Getty Images
Kane burst onto the scene as a top Premier League marksman in the 2014-15 season as he bagged 31 goals in all competitions.
His previous best was nine while playing for Millwall.
Perhaps to no great surprise many commentators, pundits and fans asked if he was a one-season wonder or if he could perform consistently from then on.
The following season he scored 28 in all competitions, the season after it was 35 and he already has 24 in the current campaign. We have our answer regarding that question.Embed from Getty Images
However, Kane’s emergence came as a great surprise.
Before making the grade in the Tottenham first team the striker spent time away on four separate loan spells.
Other than his time at Millwall his loan moves were largely unsuccessful.
Similarly, as Kane was working his way through Tottenham’s academy system, he struggled.Embed from Getty Images
He obviously had plenty of ability and technique – that’s essentially a given if you are part of a Premier league academy setup – but he often had trouble having an impact in games.
His time on loan seemed to signify that. There was plenty of potential but no end product.
But one thing always set the now 24-year-old apart from others – his passion for the sport and his work rate.
Away from the match action the Spurs man was away working on his technique and his physical condition.Embed from Getty Images
It’s a view that was underlined by former Tottenham forward Clive Allen who coached Kane in the academy.
“I saw him walk through the door as a 16-year-old and had the pleasure of working with him for four years while I was on the staff and he was a fine young man,” Allen told the BBC.
“You could see from the day he walked in he had a real desire to improve himself as a footballer and the one thing I’d say about him, which unfortunately you don’t say about a lot of young footballers, is that he had a passion for the game.
“He loves football, he loves playing, he loves scoring goals.”Embed from Getty Images
Therein lies a story of a player who was determined to make it no matter what.
Far too many times we have seen young talent across a number of sports – with all the talent in the world – fail to fulfill it because they aren’t prepared to put in the work.
Despite the knockbacks Kane took in the early stages of his career he kept focused, worked hard and maintained his professionalism.
Even when Mauricio Pochettino initially limited his appearances to European and cup games there was no complaining, no accusations thrown in the direction of the Tottenham management.
Instead Kane continued to work in order to prove himself.Embed from Getty Images
It’s often said that what you get out of something is a direct correlation of the effort you put in. You can see that with Kane.
Not only is he banging in goals for fun but his physicality and his athleticism has improved considerably.
Looking back at pictures of the forward from a few years ago and he is virtually unrecognizable.
Yet throughout his success on the pitch Kane has remained as humble, professional and mature as he ever has been.
He doesn’t drink alcohol during the football season and he doesn’t go to nightclubs. Instead he prefers to play golf when he has free time.Embed from Getty Images
While praise has been coming the way of Kane for his performances – and rightly so – let’s not forget what made the player in the first place.
Behind every successful athlete there is a great deal of self-sacrifice, a willingness to improve no matter what and a hunger that is impossible to teach.
That is why Harry Kane is the perfect role model you could ever wish for.
Written by Alasdair Hooper