Friday 17 November 2017

Harry Kane is scoring like a young Lionel Messi - if that's not world class then what is?

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Alistair Tweedale

Phil Neville reckons Harry Kane will have to move elsewhere in order to achieve his goals of breaking into the world's elite player group. The truth, however, is quite different: Kane is already well on his way.

The Spurs and England forward this week acknowledged that consistent performances in the Champions League are necessary in order to be regarded as one of the world's best, but after a stunning brace in the win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night, Kane took another giant step towards the status he desires.

As Tottenham banished the Wembley hoodoo and Kane simultaneously put another dry August behind him, he moved onto 103 goals in Spurs colours.

Now, at 24 years and 48 days old, Kane has taken just 120 appearances to reach the 80-goal mark in the Premier League.

Only the competition's all-time leading scorer has done so in fewer games.

What makes his achievements so impressive is the fact that less than three years ago, well past his 21st birthday, Kane could not even get into the Tottenham team.

His rise has been sudden and astonishing in equal measure, and his record now matches (and in some cases stands out among) some of the best players ever to grace the game.

Kane's 80 top flight goals in 120 appearances, at a rate of 0.67 goals per game, compares favourably to other English greats of the Premier League era at the same age, such as Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.

Shearer may have beaten Kane to 80 Premier League goals but, having started his career in the old Division One, his start to life in the top flight was actually much slower than Kane's. At Kane's age, Shearer had 76 top flight goals in 186 matches.

Lionel Messi had 39 more goals than Kane at the same age, but had also played 57 more matches. Up until that age, the two scored at exactly the same rate, with Messi playing in a team far superior to Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham.

Of the players charted here, only Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) scored at a faster rate in top flight football early on in their careers.

The list of players whom Kane has scored more frequently than also includes a host of huge names from world football, to include Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Thierry Henry.

Incredibly, there are plenty of people still out there that have doubts about Kane, and Neville won't be alone in believing the Spurs striker needs a move to challenge for individual honours like the Ballon d'Or.

But Kane is already scoring at a world class rate, is unquestionably among the best in the world right now and has everything in place to go on to become a legend of the game.

It is the player rather than the club that makes a footballing great, and if history is anything to go by, Kane will be just that before long.

Telegraph.co.uk

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