It’s 10 years since Harry Kane made his Tottenham debut… he’s scored 250 goals for Spurs, but can we truly put him up with the greats if he doesn’t win a trophy?
- Harry Kane is one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen
- However, the striker is still yet to win a major trophy in his professional career
- There are promising signs that that could all change this season
Namecheck Harry Kane in a debate about the Premier League’s greatest strikers and you will get a snappy response. ‘What trophies has he won, though?’
The answer, of course, is a big, fat zero. It is a fair and significant point. But after a decade of silencing his critics, it is the final stick left with which to poke the England captain.
So can Kane and Tottenham finally lift some silverware this season? With Kane in form, a serial winner in the dugout and decent squad depth, the early signs are promising.
Harry Kane is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world but is yet to win a trophy
But let’s put trophy talk on hold for now. This is all about Kane. Thursday marked 10 years since a fresh-faced 19-year-old with a short-back-and-sides made his Premier League debut.
His c.v. at the time listed loans at Leyton Orient and Millwall, and his Spurs debut — off the bench for less than 10 minutes in a loss at Newcastle — was his only appearance that season.
He went on loan to Norwich and Leicester, managing only two goals in 20 matches across those stints. It is fair to say nobody expected what was to come. Ten years later, he has 250 Spurs goals, 185 in the Premier League — more than all but three men — and a World Cup golden boot.
So where does he rank on the all-time list? Statistically speaking, only Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andy Cole (187) have more goals in the modern era. After the same number of Premier League appearances, record-holder Shearer had just one goal more than Kane does. Kane will certainly be eyeing the record. And that elusive trophy with Spurs.
Kane scored the winning goal as Tottenham beat Wolves in the Premier League
He said: ‘We’ve definitely strengthened. The mentality was starting to change towards the back end of last year. To get into the Champions League in the way we did, and performing in high-pressure situations, was really important.
‘And of course we’ve added to the squad, we’ve improved, we’ve had a good pre-season with the manager. He demands a lot from us on the pitch, off the pitch, (with the) mentality.
‘It’s still really early in the season, so time will tell. But we’re in a good place. We know we need to improve, especially the last two first halves, we need to do better. But as the season goes on, we’ll get stronger and stronger.’
Kane is now just 16 goals behind the late, great Jimmy Greaves for all-time Tottenham goals, and he could be the 28th man to hit 200 in English top-flight history.
Globally, only Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more in Europe’s top five leagues since his breakthrough season of 2014-15.
And Kane is backing up his stats with complete performances, shown in his ability to drop deep and impact matches. He’s a leader, and combines perfectly with Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski.
He’s still a menace in the box, too, as Saturday’s win over Wolves demonstrated. Bruno Lage’s side were the better team for 60 minutes and Spurs created little, but ground out a vital win. It was also another corner goal for Spurs, who are enjoying the work of set-piece guru Gianni Vio.
‘I just told him three times that we have to give him more money. He has to get a pay rise for sure!’ joked Spurs winger Kulusevski after the win. ‘He’s very important. He makes a difference. We won on a set-piece today so we have to keep working on that. It’s not the most fun thing in the world but it makes results.’
Those small details are enabling Conte’s side to win games they perhaps would not have done last term, with dropped points against mid-table sides often their downfall. They’ve beaten Southampton and Wolves so far, teams who won in north London last term, and got a hard-fought point at Chelsea.
So after 10 years of Kane, from a supposed one-season wonder to a striker eyeing the Premier League top-scorer record, can we truly put him up with the greats if he doesn’t win a trophy?
For now, Thierry Henry, Sergio Aguero and Didier Drogba might have the edge thanks to their silverware-winning moments of inspiration, and Shearer and Rooney for their trophies plus some incredible numbers.
But maybe this is the year Kane finally removes that asterisk next to his name.
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