Newly established as Tottenham’s joint record goalscorer, Harry Kane’s place in the history books was earned as much by his perseverance as his lethal finishing.
Kane’s superb goal in Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Fulham on Monday moved him level with Jimmy Greaves in Tottenham’s goalscoring charts with 266 goals for the north London club.
The 29-year-old was already well established as a Tottenham icon, but securing a piece of Greaves’ goalscoring record since 1970 takes him into an even more rarefied air.
Greaves, who died at the age of 81 in 2021, is considered one of the most natural goalscorers in football history.
A member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team that scored 44 times for his country, Greaves is the top scorer in English top-flight history with 357 goals.
The former Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham striker finished as the top scorer in the First Division in six seasons.
That Kane is next to Greaves in the Tottenham history books is all the more remarkable given the doubts that surrounded him at the start of his career.
Hard as it is to imagine now, there were those who suspected that Kane, then a cumbersome teenager whose natural goal-scoring gifts had yet to emerge, would never reach the top level after joining Tottenham’s academy in 2009.
Almost two years passed between Kane’s first goal for Tottenham against Shamrock Rovers in 2011 and his next against Hull in 2013.
Temporary moves to Leyton Orient and Millwall gave glimpses of Kane’s potential, but the nadir of his learning curve came during difficult loan spells at Leicester and Norwich in the 2012-13 season.
Kane failed to score for Norwich and struck just twice for second-tier Leicester.
“That was the lowest time. I was 19 years old, I lived away from home and I didn’t play. You always have that doubt. If you’re not playing there, how are you going to play for Tottenham?” Kane said.
– ‘It’s instinct’ –
Despite his difficulties, showing that he had the grit to deal with the aggressive physical approach of Championship opponents was important to Kane’s maturation.
“That happened a lot when I was on loan. A defender said: ‘I haven’t got a yellow card yet, I’ll use it on you,'” Kane told the Daily Mail.
“The funny thing was that two minutes later we both went up to a head butt and he ended up gasping for air on the ground. That made me very happy.”
Suitably impressed by Kane’s drive, Mauricio Pochettino, then in the early days of his successful spell as Tottenham boss, trusted his potential enough to select him regularly in the 2014=15 season.
Kane paid off Pochettino’s gamble with a flurry of goals and the rest is history, as the striker still can’t quite explain what makes him such a predator in the box.
“It’s instinct, natural. When the ball lands on me, my body takes over and my mind goes blank,” Kane said.
Kane has 199 career Premier League goals, with only Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208) ahead of him.
Kane also became England’s all-time top scorer at the World Cup in December, scoring for the 53rd time in the quarter-final loss against France to join Rooney at the top of the charts.
He could have broken Rooney’s record in the final minutes of France’s game, but he missed a penalty that doomed England to their painful exit.
It was a rare mistake for Kane, who has appeared in the mansion born on the international stage since scoring just seconds on his England debut against Lithuania in 2015.
Kane’s goals so far have not been enough for club or country, but buoyed by the dogged streak that inspired his rise to the top, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he finally ends that drought in the near future.