These numbers prove Kane can score more Premier League goals than Shearer
After claiming his second Golden Boot, we explore the striker's chances of breaking the 260-goal record...
Kane turns 24 in July but, with 78 Premier League goals, is not as prolific as other strikers were at the same age.
Michael Owen was the Premier League’s most potent 24-year-old with 110 goals, Robbie Fowler had 106, while Wayne Rooney had 86 and Romelu Lukaku had 84.
All four had played significantly more matches than Kane by the time of the same birthday, though.
Kane has reached his tally in just 116 appearances, while the others had all featured at least 180 times – with Rooney notably notching his 86 goals in 232 matches.
And as Rooney, Owen and Fowler proved, so many matches at a young age can ultimately become a burden, with injury and fatigue eventually blunting their powers.
Kane has the advantage of a better strike rate and less mileage in the legs at the same stage of his career.
Verdict: That Kane is not far off the most prolific youngsters in Premier League history, despite playing many fewer games, is a good sign for his record-breaking chances.
Of course, it is 260-goal record-holder Alan Shearer who Kane has in his sights.
Shearer actually reached 78 goals in 96 matches – 20 fewer than Kane.
The Geordie was 26 by the time he had reached that total, though, and had already enjoyed what would be the three most prolific seasons of his career at Blackburn.
Indeed, none of the top five goalscorers’ Premier League career strike rates compare favourably to Kane in the last three seasons (since he became a regular).
Thierry Henry comes closest – leaving Arsenal with a ratio of 0.68 goals per league match – but Kane has managed 0.74 goals per game since breaking into Mauricio Pochettino’s side in 2014, averaging 34 appearances per season.
He would break the record inside the next eight seasons if he can repeat that record.
There is every chance that his goal rate will increase, rather than decrease, however.
If he replicated his efforts of 0.94 goals per game from the 2016/17 season, he would be the league’s highest scorer by the age of 30.
Verdict: Kane has reached 78 goals in fewer matches than the league’s top five goalscorers, bar the significantly older Shearer, whose strike rate eventually dipped, too.
Put simply – probably too simply – Kane is rewarded for regularly aiming to shoot.
He scored more goals from outside the penalty area than any other player in the 2016/17 season, a result of taking more shots from said distance – 1.4 per match – than anybody else.
That habit is particularly useful considering his lethal shots-on-target ratio.
Sixty-five per cent of the Tottenham forward’s shots either resulted in a goal or a save this season, more than any other player with more than 40 attempts.
Among the season’s seven top scorers, meanwhile, his record of 3.66 efforts on goal per game was only bettered by Sergio Aguero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
While he works hard, Kane’s style is not dependent on physicality – unlike the forceful Shearer in his later years or speedy Owen – but instinct and accuracy.
Maintaining those habits will see him push for the record.
Verdict: Kane’s tendency to shoot – in combination with superb accuracy – makes him the Premier League’s most lethal striker.
Kane’s form is comfortably good enough to break Shearer’s record, but is it sustainable?
Well, history says that a flawless injury record is not necessary to top this chart.
Alan Shearer suffered several serious injuries over the course of his career, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 1992 and damaged ankle ligaments in 1997.
Both resulted in him missing half a season apiece, but did not prove terminal.
Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Andy Cole all suffered long-term injuries at various stages of their careers, too.
While Owen and Fowler would have scored more without those absences, Cole is still the division’s third-highest scorer.
That previous forwards overcame serious injuries should encourage Kane, whose twice-injured ankle was the only dampener on his 2016/17 campaign.
Interestingly, fourth-placed Frank Lampard missed just five league matches between 2001 and 2007 – a record that, if replicated, would surely propel Kane to break this record.
Verdict: Kane looks fit and has a summer’s rest ahead. Previous strikers’ ability to overcome long-term injuries should ease concerns over his ankle, too.
Kane’s cause has been helped by playing for a Tottenham side that have created more chances than any other in both of the last two Premier League seasons.
And it is continuing to feature for English football’s elite that could see him reach – and surpass – that golden 260 mark.
Shearer was restricted by playing for a Newcastle side that finished five separate seasons 13th, 13th, 11th, 11th and 14th in his 10 years there, while third-place Cole scrabbled to his tally at smaller clubs at the end of his career.
Second-place Rooney, meanwhile, has rarely been Manchester United’s main goalscorer.
There is little chance of any of these factors afflicting Kane.
Assuming he stays in England, it is difficult to see him not playing a leading role in an – at worst – top-six side any time soon.
Instead, he will have elite teams – and team-mates – built to suit him.
Tottenham fans will hope it's them for the duration.
Verdict: Kane will be surrounded by excellence for the foreseeable future, not a luxury afforded to all of the other top scorers.