As a rule, I do not like to compare players to Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. Over the years, you see these comparisons endlessly. Here’s the Nigerian Ronaldo. Here’s an entire list of footballers that have been compared to Messi. It never ceases to amaze—or amuse—but it’s never any less ridiculous. So it’s important that following their Champions League triumph over APOEL mid-week, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino put those claims to bed immediately when discussing Harry Kane:
“I never said he is better than Cristiano and Lionel Messi, who are at a different level. They are the best and are showing that for the last five to 10 years. We cannot put so much pressure on Harry because he is so young… Harry is a striker, a killer; they are killers too but play in different positions and have different styles. It will not help Harry if we start comparing him to these players.”
By now I’m certain Harry Kane can deal with any sort of pressure just fine. That’s not the point. It’s making these needless, knee-jerk comparisons that serve nobody. It’s attempting to re-create a Ronaldo or Messi when we still get to witness their brilliance on a weekly basis. Of course, that’s not to say Kane shouldn’t want to be like them. Who wouldn’t? They’re the best in the world at what they do.
So too, is Harry Kane.
If you need a goal-scorer, there’s nobody better. Particularly in the Premier League. Sergio Agüero is fantastic. And it’s safe to say injuries have robbed him of being even greater. Romelu Lukaku is an excellent, prolific goal-scorer in his own right. It’s just that Harry Kane is better. And that has been undeniably true for the past two-plus seasons. 21 goals in his first full Premier League season—he didn’t start for the first time until November 9 (2014-15). 25 goals the following season. 29 goals after that, despite missing two months due to injury. Two Golden Boots. The list goes on.
And at only 24 years of age, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. He might not even be in his prime yet. He’s going to have to keep that hunger, too. Because by the looks of it, he’s in for a fight when it comes to potentially winning a third consecutive Golden Boot. In the early going, Agüero sits on six goals, as does Chelsea’s Álvaro Morata and United’s Lukaku. Even Leicester’s Jamie Vardy is seeing a resurgence with five early on. The kicker being, of course, that Harry Kane didn’t score at all in August.
Yet over 10 appearances between the Champions League, EPL and England’s national team, Kane has found the back of the net 13 times. So now, I’m about to do something I never do. I’m about to compare a player—in this case, Harry Kane—to Cristiano Ronaldo. Oh settle down, I make the rules here. We’re just looking at the numbers.
Remember when Ronaldo scored 31 Premier League goals for United back during the 2007-08 season? Alan Shearer did it first (1995-96) and Luis Suárez is the only other to match them (2013-14). Well Ronaldo went on to make 196 PL appearances for United between 2003-09, scoring 84 times. Harry Kane has also scored 84—in just 124 such appearances. That total is accurate as of this morning after Tottenham’s striker scored two more against Huddersfield Town within 25 minutes. That’s a rate of roughly 0.68 goals per game. Only one other PL striker can claim that pace—Thierry Henry—who tallied 176 goals in 258 such appearances.
Again, Kane is only 24 years old. But despite how blistering his goal-scoring pace has been, it still feels far too early to talk about Alan Shearer’s career mark. But assuming the Englishman wishes to stay in England—whether it’s with Tottenham or not—we could be talking about this very seriously in a few seasons.
In the meantime, finding the back of the net with relative ease will suffice.
Statistics courtesy of transfermarkt