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If anyone can break Alan Shearer’s Premier League scoring records, it’ll be someone like Harry Kane

Kane is on an incredible pace for a 23-year-old, and he’s got the playing style to keep scoring well into his 30s.

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Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

At the age of 23 years, seven months and two days, the Premier League's all-time leading goalscorer Alan Shearer was playing for Blackburn Rovers. Well, not precisely at that moment. It was a Tuesday.

But it was March 15, 1994, and he had already picked up 25 league goals, as well as three in the cups. By this point he was just shy of 100 career goals for Southampton and Blackburn across all competitions, and was 41 goals into his eventual Premier League record of 260.

Now, at the age of 23 years, seven months and two days, Harry Kane has played across League One and the Championship, but mostly in the Premier League. He's played and scored for Tottenham Hotspur, Leyton Orient, Leicester City, and Millwall, as well as failing to score for Norwich City. And thanks to his hat-trick against Stoke City last weekend, he's scored 102 goals so far, including 66 in the Premier League.

In other words, IT IS ON.

Despite the advantage of having started out in the Premier League, the numbers Kane needs to pass Shearer are ridiculous. Or rather, the consistency of the numbers he needs. In essence, he has to score a goal every other league game for the next ten seasons, which will take him past Shearer's record around the age of 34. That's without making allowances for injury, extreme loss of form or a hilariously disastrous transfer to somewhere not-Tottenham.

(It's worth recalling at this point that Shearer scored his goals despite three separate, serious ligament injuries and major knee surgery. Freakish doesn't begin to cover it.)

But set against that is the fact that Kane looks well-equipped for a long career. Some young strikers — the quick ones, the thrilling ones — are fragile creatures, destined to flare brightly and then fade away, their pace lost in a tangle of hamstring injuries. Kane, by contrast, plays something like an old man already: drifting around the edges of the offside line, foraging for spaces in the box, finding the corner of the goal with his shots.

There is an encouraging and fundamental cleverness about him, made all the more appealing by his general demeanour. Footballers that look like they shouldn't be footballers are superior in all cases to those of appropriate aspect, and Kane never varies from his default setting of amiable bemusement. Whether Tottenham win or lose, whether he scores or sticks it wide, he always looks like a well-meaning bumpkin lost in the big city, gaping at the horseless carriages as they trundle by.

And it's that — the cleverness, not the bumpkinicity — that makes you suspect that Kane is going to get pretty close to Shearer by the time he's done. Les Ferdinand, one of his youth coaches, once claimed that Kane combined the shooting of Shearer — "pure venom" — with the cleverness of Teddy Sheringham, and while we have to make allowances for optimistic one-of-our-own hyperbole, that sounds more or less ideal. Not just as a recipe for a striker, but for striking longevity.

Being a modern footballer with modern media training, Kane's public declarations on the subject have been appropriately ambitious yet pragmatic:

“It's a lot of goals and I'm still a long way off but Shearer was an idol of mine growing up, to see how many goals he scored was incredible. I take it season by season. I don't like looking too far ahead because you never know what can happen.”

Yet if nothing happens, so to speak, then he'll get there. And he doesn't even have to make a move to his boyhood club.

Whether there's space for Kane to become as generally iconic of his time as Shearer is up for debate. Despite those pre-Premier League seasons at Southampton, Shearer's journey from promising to good to great is intimately entwined with the growth of the breakaway league from money-making wheeze through to cultural juggernaut.

As the Premier League became the hashtag Eee Pee Ell, Shearer became Shearer: surprise title-winner; serial snubber of Manchester United; and ultimately record-setter. The Sky Sportsification of English footballing history is annoying and at times vaguely sinister. But Shearer, despite his pleasantly old-fashioned playing style, is iconic not just of Blackburn and Newcastle but of the Premier League Years, and it's futile to pretend otherwise.

Now, however, the Premier League has become a crowded place for superstars. Kane is jostling for attention with Sergio Aguero, with Romelu Lukaku, and with whichever vastly expensive import rolls up next. Still, it's the numbers, in the end, that speak loudest of all. And right now, Kane's numbers are precisely where they need to be: excellent, with the potential to become extraordinary.