Harry Kane At 30: From Late Developer To England's Greatest Goalscorer

Harry Kane turns 30 on Friday
08:00, 28 Jul 2023

At 18, Wayne Rooney was the greatest footballer on the planet at Euro 2004. At 18, Harry Kane was on loan at Leyton Orient. Few would have predicted at that point that it would be the latter who would become England’s all-time record goalscorer.

It has been a long route to the top for Kane, but his peak has been long and now he stands alone amongst the country’s greatest strikers. He’s also likely to beat Alan Shearer’s record of 260 Premier League goals if he stays in the division and isn't tempted by the bright lights of Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain. 

As a youngster, Kane lacked that one sole attribute to make him stand out. His successful loan spell at Millwall was followed by two disappointing stints at Norwich City and Leicester City and it didn’t look like he had the quality to make it at the highest level. He was slow, physically overwhelmed by the Championship players and his finishing wasn’t as sharp as it is in the present day. 


So how did this second tier struggler, at the age of 20, develop into England’s captain, and reliable goal-getter? 

Well, perhaps an unlikely hat-tip should go to then-Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood. More famous for kicking doors and wearing gilets than actually managing a football team, Sherwood was the man who gave Kane his chance in the Premier League, and the front man never looked back. Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor were the only other strikers at the club and the players brought in to replace Gareth Bale were all flopping, one way or another. 

By April 2014, Sherwood was looking for another solution and turned to Kane. The striker scored on his debut in a 5-1 win over Sunderland and after a strong end to the season solidified his place as Tottenham’s main man.


“The front players were fluid, popping up in different areas of the field, difficult to mark and the main reason for that, for me, was Harry Kane,” Sherwood said after the match. “I thought he was fantastic. He ran his heart out, stretched Sunderland and created space for the likes of Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon to get into the pockets.”

That summary of his game hasn’t changed over the last nine years, it's just that Kane has become the very best in the world at it. He still works hard, but now his quality on the ball is second to none and his passing range is out of this world. The England man scored 21 in 34 in his first full season, yet still people doubted him. 

The ‘one-season wonder’ has now scored 17 or more Premier League goals in every single season for the past nine years. Last term, even in an underperforming Spurs team, he was the best version of himself, scoring 30 goals in 38 league matches. His relationship with Son Heung-min is one of the all-time greats, with the pair combining for more goals than any other duo in Premier League history. 

Then there is England. No captain has been as successful as Kane since Bobby Moore. He’s won a World Cup Golden Boot and produced at the biggest tournaments, unlike several of his predecessors. And he loves playing for the Three Lions, it’s his priority over everything else. An international trophy would mean more to him than any club honour and England’s record goalscorer is only going to extend his lead at the top of the scoring charts over the next few years. 

It’s ridiculous to say with 213 Premier League goals to his name, but it is disrespectful to call Kane simply a goalscorer. He’s so much more than that, and completely integral to the way that Tottenham have played over the past decade. It seems as though his journey with Spurs will come to an end one way or another over the next 12 months, but Kane deserves to be heralded.

Kane at 30 is a mile ahead of the player we thought he could be at 20. A decade of development for England’s greatest goalscorer. 

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Harry Kane is 13/2 to be Premier League top scorer*
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