Tottenham’s Harry Kane scores 20 goals in third straight season: Joins elite company

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton at White Hart Lane on March 5, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton at White Hart Lane on March 5, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

Harry Kane, who scored in his full return from injury against Bournemouth, joins Alan Shearer, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry as the only players to score 20 goals in three successive Premier League seasons. 

Comparing the strikers best seasons

What’s more impressive is how quickly Kane, after missing eight Premier League games due to injury,  accomplished the feat. It only took Spurs deadly assassin 24 games to hit the 20-goal plateau.

That’s a return of 0.83 goals per match.

To fully understand the sheer gravity of Kane’s 2016-17 achievement to date, let’s reflect on three of the all-time best striker’s most prolific goal-scoring seasons.

Henry scored 27 goals in 32 games during the 2005/06 season.

While it wasn’t a career high, it was the odds-defying efficiency which made that particular season so special. The French wizard had a goal return of 0.84 goals per match, narrowly eclipsing Kane’s ratio in the current campaign.

Shearer, in 1995-96, managed an even better goal return. The Englishman scored 31 goals in 35 appearances, an outlandish return of 0.89 goals per match.

Van Nistelrooy enjoyed his most bountiful scoring season in 2002-03, when the bullish Dutchman bagged 25 goals (tied with Kane’s career high) in 34 appearances. That’s a 0.74 goals per-match return.

Talk about rubbing shoulders with the very best.

However, Henry was 28 years old, Shearer 27 and van Nistelrooy 27 when the triumvirate enjoyed their most opulent seasons.

Kane, for another three months, is only 23 years old. Spurs talisman hasn’t even reached his prime yet, a fantastic thought for Tottenham faithful.

Kane’s 20-goal campaigns

The February Player of the Month, Kane has scored two Premier League hat tricks – against Stoke and West Brom – along with one in the FA Cup – against Fulham – this season. The marksman also has four two-goal games and has scored 15 goals at home.

He’s five goals off his last season’s Golden Boot winning 25-goal career high, which he would have already surpassed had injuries not kept him out of the lineup.

Kane didn’t miss a match during the 2015-16 season, producing a goal return of 0.66 per game, way down on this season’s output. It is, however, a more sustainable and realistic total.

But Spurs are currently a more well-rounded, complete team, invariably contributing to his higher goal return this season. He had one hat trick, six two-goal games while scoring 10 goals at White Hart Lane during the award-winning 2015-16 season.

The numbers from the 2014-15 season, when Kane first hit the 20-goal plateau, are eerily similar to his Golden Boot winning season. He had a goal return of 0.62, scored one hat trick and celebrated nine times at White Hart Lane. In that season, Kane scored 21 goals in 34 appearances.

How does Kane measure up to the best

While Kane doesn’t have as many seasons under his belt and is far less experienced than the other three were during their best Premier League seasons, he deserves to be included in the conversation.

Henry – from 2001-06 – scored at least 20 goals in five consecutive seasons, the all-time best 20-goal streak. He scored 30 goals once and has an overall return of 0.68 goals per match. The mercurial French legend scored 175 goals in 258 Premier League appearances.

Shearer, the best English striker, has 260 goals in 441 appearances (0.59 goals per game). The Englishman scored at least 20 goals in four straight seasons, from 1993-97. The most complete striker in the history of the Premier League scored a career high 34 goals in 1994-95.

Van Nistelrooy never quite reached the eminent heights of Shearer or Henry. The physically robust Dutchman hit the 20-goal mark in three consecutive seasons, from 2001-04. He notched 25 goals in 2002-03, a career high. Van Nistelrooy bagged 95 goals in 150  Premier League appearances, or 0.63 goals per game.

So how does Kane stack up in his first three full Premier League seasons?

Pretty damn well.

Spurs leader has scored 69 goals in 110 appearances, equating to 0.63 goals per game. That’s the same goal return as van Nistelrooy and better production, albeit in far fewer games, than Shearer.

Next: Tottenham's stars align in potentially massive win

Should he continue this astonishing goal-scoring pace, Kane would break Shearer’s all-time Premier League goal-scoring record 315 matches (about eighth and a half seasons) into the future.

Everyone needs goals, right? Sure, some are more lofty than others.

Is it an aspirational target? Hell yes. But is it obtainable?

Considering his age, ability and unbridled desire I’d say yes.

Only injuries – and, heaven forbid, a future transfer to Real Madrid or Barcelona – will stand in the way of Spurs visionary, our legend in the making.