As the praise keeps rolling in, Harry Kane keeps rolling along. Proving his exploits in the previous campaign were no flash in the pan, the Tottenham hit-man has once again surpassed 20 goals for the season, joining Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Robbie Fowler and Les Ferdinand to become only the fifth English striker to do so in back-to-back seasons.
Of course, you’ve probably heard this multiple times over the past few days, the clamour to get on the Kane bandwagon and praise the young striker – and rightly so – has filled media, social or otherwise, in recent weeks and months, truly hitting overload following his brace against Bournemouth at the weekend.
It’s not just statisticians, sports channels and casual observers either. Ex-pro’s and pundits have been keen to have their say, former Liverpool and Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy telling talkSPORT that “[He] is potentially one of the best English strikers we have ever seen” whilst Gary Linekar, one of England’s greatest ever front-men and former Spurs No.10, took to Twitter to deliver his views:
What a fabulous striker Harry Kane has become.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 20, 2016
Spurs’ current No.10 is certainly setting the Premier League alight. He’s on course to become the first English winner of the Premier League golden boot since Kevin Phillips in 2000, but how does he compare to the other top strikers from around the continent?
Looking at the most fundamental statistic first – goals scored – he currently lies ninth in the list of European top-goalscorers with 21 strikes having found the onion-bag. I won’t list all nine of the players above him, but suffice to say there are some very, VERY big names ahead of him – think of all the continent’s top attacking talent and you get a feel for how big an accomplishment his current goalscoring feats are.
When only the creme de le creme of strikers from the top European clubs can claim a better goal haul, you know you’re on to something special. His importance to Spurs is even more impressive having collated 38% of the Lillywhites’ total goals – putting him behind only Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski in terms of percentage of team goals scored.
So in terms of importance to his side, Kane ranks right up there with some of the most elite talent plying their trade around Europe. Whilst it’s always nice to have a team full of goals from a wide variety of players, having a figurehead striker on your books who can almost always guarantee you 20+ goals a season is both a rare and a prized quality.
He may not possess the speed and trickery of Cristiano Ronaldo, the flair and technique of any of Barcelona’s ‘MSN’ or even the all consuming theatricality of Zlatan Ibrahimovich, but his understated ‘old school’ attributes perfectly lend themselves to the English top-flight. And even more impressive is the fact that he is still only 22, the rest of the top strikers heading the goalscoring charts are all considerably older – Neymar his closest peer at 24.
Comparatively speaking then, you could argue he is even better than the other top members among Europe’s premier goal-getters. With more time to develop his game, he can only improve on his already considerable ability – his game not based on speed or flair so liable not to diminish with age. And whilst I’m not going to claim he’s a better all round player than a Lionel Messi or a Ronaldo, in terms of pure goal-scoring he is easily on the right course to become one of THE top-marksman in Europe.
We may end up seeing one or two of the names atop Europe’s goalscoring charts playing in the Premier League next season, but they will have to go a long way to outshine Kane. Seeing players like Ibrahimovic or Higuain, both frequently mentioned as possible targets for Premier League sides, in this country’s top-flight is an an exciting prospect for sure.
But the Premier League, or more specifically Spurs, may already have it’s own superstar. In typically British/English fashion, Harry Kane may not dazzle the spectator with bewildering showmanship or crave the limelight like some of the continent’s more exuberant stars, but in going about his business efficiently and with minimal fuss, the young man from Chingford in Essex has the world at his feet and superstar status only awaits.