How Harry Kane became England’s all-time leading goalscorer

There was potential for history to be made when England got their Euro 2024 qualification campaign underway. And so it was.

Harry Kane has had more than his fair share of critics over the years but his penalty against Italy on Thursday night put him ahead of all other players to become the Three Lions’ leading goalscorer.

The Tottenham forward was level with Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney heading into the international break but now stands alone at the top of the goalscoring charts.

Here’s how the England captain reached the landmark.

Phil Foden, Harry Kane - Soccer PlayerPhil Foden, Harry Kane - Soccer Player

Kane was key for England in Euro 2020 / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Kane is now ahead of Rooney, who was sat on 53 goals, with 54 following his penalty against Italy. It’s another record for his CV, having recently become Tottenham’s all-time leading goalscorer.

The Three Lions skipper hit the 53-goal mark in 80 games which is a huge 40 fewer than Rooney. Logic suggests Kane is poised to set a record that will take many years to break, if it ever gets broken at all.

Given he is 29 years old and the focal point of the England team, he could streak ahead of all of the competition over the next four or five years.


Harry KaneHarry Kane

Harry Kane netted just 79 seconds into his England debut / Paul Gilham/GettyImages

Kane made his debut for the England senior team back in March 2015 when Roy Hodgson was in charge. Considered a late bloomer by some standards, Kane was 21 years and seven months old when he scored on debut as a substitute against Lithuania in a European qualifier.

He netted with a header 79 seconds after coming on.

It still took another couple of years before Kane started to become prolific with England. He was still occasionally involved with the Under-21 team but managed to grab another two goals in 2015, one against San Marino and another against Switzerland.

Having started to score goals almost every time he took the field for England, Gareth Southgate made him England captain in May 2018, leading into the World Cup in Russia. He responded, netting six goals and winning the Golden Boot at the tournament.

Since then, he has undoubtedly been the talisman of the England team. He grabbed 16 England goals in 2021, the most in a calendar year by a single player for the Three Lions. When he scored twice at the 2022 World Cup, it took him past Gary Lineker’s haul in major tournaments.

It has been a joy for many fans, particularly Spurs supporters, to watch Kane climb his way up the goalscoring charts for England and one of the notable moments was when he hit 41 goals, taking him above Michael Owen. That happened during his hat-trick against Albania during qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

After overtaking Jimmy Greaves and Vivian Woodward, he had Lineker – sat on 49 – in his sights. That happened towards the end of a friendly against Switzerland in March 2022, while that game also took him level with Sir Bobby Charlton before he overtook the Man Utd great by scoring against Germany in the Nations League.

Another goal against Germany and then his World Cup exploits against Senegal and France took him level with Wayne Rooney, with seemingly nothing in his way.

Harry Kane’s England goals by year
































On this edition of Oh What a Night, part of the 90min podcast network, Sean Walsh & Jude Summerfield discuss the issues at Tottenham Hotspur and who is to blame for where the club find themselves.

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