Son Heung-min showed that he has no intention of losing his shirt to Gareth Bale after firing four goals in Tottenham’s 5-2 win at Southampton.
Bale completed his return to Spurs on Saturday, but he will not be dislodging the South Korean on this evidence after a match-winning display at St Mary’s.
Harry Kane assisted all four goals and then added one of his own at the end and the prospect of adding Bale to that front line will have Spurs fans licking their lips and leave Premier League defences with sleepless nights.
Spurs fell behind to a Danny Ings goal that showed exactly why Spurs are interested in signing the striker, but then it became the Son show, with Kane as his able understudy.
He equalised on the stroke of half-time and then scored three after the break – to claim his first Premier League hat-trick – before Kane got his deserved goal in the final 10 minutes.
The win kick-started their Premier League campaign after a defeat to Everton last week and was the perfect follow-up to the excitement brought by Bale’s return.
Southampton completely capitulated after the break having been by far the better side in the first half and they have now lost all three of their games this season.
Spurs thought they had made the perfect start as Kane but the ball in the back of the net in clinical style in the third minute, but VAR ruled Son offside in the build-up.
Hugo Lloris made a brilliant reaction stop to keep out Che Adams, before Ings then had a goal chalked off for handball after Lloris had made a mess of clearing a ball.
Ings then had an effort cleared off the line and Moussa Djenepo hit the post with a shot from distance.
Southampton eventually got their reward in the 32nd minute and there was an inevitability about Ings being the man to get the goal.
Former Spurs right-back Kyle Walker-Peters played him in and Ings showed why Spurs are keen to bring him to the club by firing a low shot past Lloris.
It had been so poor from Spurs, but some individual brilliance saw them somehow go in level at half-time.
A fine piece of play by Tanguy Ndombele saw him create space in the middle of the park; he released Kane who squared to Son to finish brilliantly at the far post.
That proved a crucial moment in the game as Spurs went in front in the 47th minute as Kane dropped deep, was allowed to turn and played in Son who made no mistake.
The hat-trick goal in the 64th minute was a virtual carbon copy as Son beat the offside trap, Kane found him with a cute ball and it was the same result as the South Korean claimed the Premier League matchball for the first time in his career.
It happened again nine minutes later, almost in identical circumstances, as Kane’s curled cross found Son and another one-on-one was converted.
Kane deservedly got on the scoresheet in the final 10 minutes as he rammed home a loose ball after Erik Lamela’s shot was turned on to the post.
Ings got his second at the death with a penalty after Matt Doherty had handled, but it did not make any difference as Spurs won it in style.