Jimmy Greaves and Co were such forward thinkers.. now Harry Kane is reaping the rewards of striker evolution
NO ONE in the Premier League makes and scores goals like Harry Kane.
Football jewellery of such quality has been exceedingly rare since the competition began in 1992.
GettyTottenham star Harry Kane is such a unique goalscorer[/caption]
His claim to unique standing was emphasised further when he became only the third striker behind footballing icons Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney to reach 200 Prem goals.
And he isn’t yet 30 years old. It was at Tottenham, too, that Jimmy Greaves scored most of the 357 goals which still stands as England’s top-tier record.
An effective striker may be the most vital contributor to league success, so it is interesting to note that Spurs have failed to win the title with either Kane or Greaves in their ranks.
Fussy grandads might well claim that Greaves wasn’t even a centre-forward, as strikers were called in his day.
He wasn’t a captain, a colonel or a corporal either.
Perhaps, courtesy of The Who, a pinball wizard.
Kane is similarly locked into the secrets of the penalty area.
Some of this can be learned from coaches, but much more comes from the instinct of identifying every blade of grass, never mind the lines or the goalkeeper’s position.
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There are a few with that talent and two who stand out, combining goals with great passing skills were midfielders Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.
Their careers are remarkably similar, England caps galore, each with more than a century of league goals — Lampard with a spectacular 177 for sixth place overall and Gerrard on 120. Even high scorers are not typical.
The leader in the Prem era, Alan Shearer, scored 260 with a goal-to-games ratio of 0.59, and he knocked them in from practically anywhere, anytime.
Greaves was a Jack-in-the-box, clinical, spectral and, at the sniff of a chance, a terrier.
The deadliest finishers do so with feet, shins, knees, bottom, chest and head.
With Greaves, almost everything but the moustache he grew later.
He really was a cheeky chappy. And, by the way, he scored 124 of his league goals for Chelsea and (how could we forget?) 13 for West Ham.
Hundred-plus scorers come in all sizes and most shapes, except corpulent. Tallest, with 108 on the 33-strong list of Prem century scorers, is 6ft 7in Peter Crouch, whose footballer humour works well on television.
Although the camera operator might have to stand on tiptoe to capture his full frame.
At 5ft 9in, Mo Salah, who has just set a Liverpool Prem record with 129, is among the best. The Egyptian ace is a ball-hugger on the ground, sometimes. It looks as if he’s lost it but, no need to worry, it’s in the back of the net.
There’s no non-Hammer I enjoy watching more.
Match-killing scorers mostly head the value table.
Think of the Paris Saint-Germain duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, maybe Kane in time, certainly peak Erling Haaland if ever he now leaves Manchester City.
The strapping blond is 6ft 5in of fast-moving muscle in the penalty area.
No aggression there and when he and Newcastle’s Dan Burn, an inch taller, went eye to eye in a melee, these titans shrugged, clearly thought ‘this is ridiculous’ and then simply parted ways with smiles.
Otherwise, the Earth might have moved.
No opponent ever smiled at Thierry Henry, whose 175 Arsenal goals came in 258 games at the leading ratio of 0.68.
For 13 years up to 2012, he was frightening defences with an array of skills we may never see again.
Quick and supple, he alarmed with changes of direction and the ability to cause wounds.
He fizzed like champagne and, yes, he was probably our best import from France.
I think we would all agree: “Vive les strikers!”
PAKarren Brady writes exclusively for Sun Sport[/caption]