It all started against Shamrock Rovers.
Danny Rose fires over a cross, Andros Townsend cushions a header and there’s Harry Kane, smart, instinctive and a tidy finish on the turn. Go alone.
The 266th goal would come just over 11 years later and equal Jimmy Greaves’ Tottenham Hotspur goalscoring record, which has stood for 53 years. The numbers are remarkable and the fact that Kane is still only 29 adds depth to the achievement.
He’s a relentless goal-scoring machine who shows no signs of slowing down either, having so far in 2022-23. His tally of 15 league goals in 2018 equals his all-time best at this stage of the season (18 games).
He will also soon break the England record. You’d imagine he’d break many other records as well.
But how does it feel to be approaching such a big and remarkable milestone? We all talk about it, but how much will Kane think about it? Will even someone like Kane, who seems completely unflappable, focused and metronomic, feel the pressure? Let’s not forget that a goal could be potentially huge given that Spurs face Arsenal (once) and Manchester City (twice) in their next five matches.
“First of all, it’s a lot of pressure,” says Alan Shearer, who broke Jackie Milburn’s long-standing Newcastle United record against Portsmouth in February 2006, just a few games before his retirement.
“Because in Harry’s case, you’re going to equal or take over one of the most – if not to most of Jimmy Greaves’ all-time iconic goalscorers. It’s similar to me and Jackie Milburn, although it took me a bit longer than Harry Kane.
While supporters and the media will be talking about records, numbers and milestones pretty much non-stop, you’ll often hear players start thinking only about their next game, their next goal. “That would be a nice thing, but it’s the kind of thing you think about when you retire,” would be the textbook response.
Glenn Murray made it 12 goals to break Brighton’s all-time goalscoring record, which has stood since George V’s accession to the throne in 1929. When Murray 2016-2017 rejoined the Seagulls in 2011, scoring 57 goals in his first game in three seasons before that. , there was talk of him surpassing Tommy Cook’s 123, especially when he took 23 wickets in that campaign.
“It was a pain to be honest,” Murray admits. “There was so much talk about it, I just wanted to get rid of it – I thought it was for the future, not the present.
“The first big one was getting to 100 goals and also breaking the post-war record (held by Keith Napier who scored 99), people were talking about it a lot because it hadn’t been done for quite a while, I had beaten some of the Brighton greats of the day like Bobby Zamora, and, yes, I wanted to achieve that, but more to look back on when I retired.
“It would have been nice to break the all-time record but it’s a shame I didn’t (Murray left Brighton in February 2021 and retired at the end of this season). I got to 111 which seems quiet and appropriate… it rolls off the tongue! And to get a post-war record is great. To be honest, I could never have dreamed of being the top goalscorer at any club, let alone a Premier League club.
“As a striker, you don’t feel emotions about these things when you play. If you score 100, you want 101, then 102, it’s boring, but that’s the mindset that got you to that point in your career so you don’t suddenly stop and hang around. You are addicted to scoring goals. It’s a habit.”
Everyone is different. Ian Wright equaled one of Cliff Bastin’s almost 60-year-old Arsenal records when he scored in 1997-98. scored a goal against Coventry earlier in the season. He then failed to score against Southampton, Leicester and, yes, Spurs, before crushing it against Bolton.
“People said the record was getting to me, and now I can look back and say, ‘Yeah, it ate at me,'” he said at the time. “But people around me, like Dennis Bergkamp, told me to stay calm, and it will happen.
Given the ferocious clinical attitude Kane has maintained since the World Cup, despite that penalty against France, you can’t imagine he’s distracted now with the chance to break Greaves’ record of four goals in four matches since football resumed after the tournament . . Maybe he won’t score in his next three and will be accused of feeling the pressure. But that seems pretty unlikely.
Murray was at Selhurst Park recently to watch Kane score his 263rd and 264th goals in Spurs’ 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.
“Going into this season, I feel like Earl Haaland has taken the pressure off him and he’s just been quietly drifting away and having a phenomenal campaign,” says Murray.
“His relentlessness is what’s so impressive. He is not extraordinary at one, but he is 8/10 at everything. That’s why he’s so hard to stop because he scores all kinds of goals – headers, 25 yards, different angles and ranges. His qualities are so vast.
“And he has the mentality that he knows even if he’s off, it only takes a second to score and he’s a hero.
“We all know he’s going to be really excited to get it, but when he gets there he’s going to hold his breath and relax; you keep moving, that’s the next goal. Besides, he’s going to break the record and he’s going to want to make it his own, so he never gets caught. Attackers are greedy.”
Ultimately, it’s about you as a person.
Antonio Conte wanted to emphasize the human aspect this week.
“He has great numbers,” says Conte. “We are talking about a world-class striker and he will definitely break all the records. I think he deserves it.
“I always want to emphasize the human aspect of Harry as well, because we are not only talking about a world-class striker, but also a really good person and human being. He is an important reference point for us. He is doing something incredible. At the same time, we are trying to help him, and if he scores he helps us.
It started against Shamrock Rovers. This could properly bring some sort of conclusion against Arsenal. But it won’t stop there.
Shearer adds: “Yeah, you think about it; yes, it is in your mind; yes, you’re desperate to get it done so you can then just go out and score and be normal again instead of saying ‘you’re one away from Jimmy Greaves’. Then it’s an incredible feeling when you’re one ahead of Jimmy Greaves or Jackie Milburn.
“Yes, there is pressure. But it’s not a bad pressure, is it?
(Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)