Kane, Henry, Rooney: Who is the Premier League's greatest ever striker?

Harry Kane has now scored more Premier League goals than Thierry Henry.

When the Tottenham Hotspur striker smashed home his 175th and 176th goals in England’s top-flight against Everton on Monday night, he surpassed arguably the greatest player in the division’s history.

And while it might have taken 12 more games for Kane to usurp the Arsenal legend, there are now only five players that stand in his way to become the Premier League‘s all-time record goalscorer.

Kane overtakes Henry for goals

So, with such a seismic shift in the competition’s goalscoring ranks, we thought that it only made sense to zoom out for a second and take a wider look at the topography of the Premier League’s finest ever strikers.

Besides, just because Kane now has more goals than Henry, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he would place higher than him when it comes to ranking the top-flight’s finest strikers since 1992.

With everything from longevity, consistency, quality of teammates and non-goalscoring traits to consider, stacking up legendary Premier League strikers isn’t as easy as counting up the goals.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – February 19, 2022 Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane celebrates scoring their third goal before it is ruled out following a VAR review Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Who is the Premier League’s greatest ever striker?

But when has difficulty ever stopped us? Yes, that’s right, we’re wheeling out our trusty medium of Tiermaker and using their popular “Premier League All-Time Strikers” template to reveal our opinion to the world.

With categories ranging from ‘GOAT’ to ‘Bottom of the Pile’ with plenty of juicy tiers in between, there’s lots of debating to be had on the back of Kane leaving Henry in his dust.

Ultimately, the selections come down to the opinion of yours truly, but the aforementioned criteria that takes into account performance over time will guide me nonetheless as I sort the great from the good.

Bear in mind that the players are being ranked based on their qualities as a striker with only their performances in the Premier League, not even the old First Division or other English competitions, being taken into consideration.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Everton – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain – March 7, 2022 Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/David Klein EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Oh, and anyone making it into the Tiermaker is worth of praising because, let’s face it, finishing last amongst all-time Premier League strikers is hardly an insult in the grand scheme of things.

Ranking the Premier League’s all-time strikers

However, enough with the disclaimers, because we know that you’re anxious to get stuck into the results, so be sure to check out our rankings of the Premier League’s greatest ever strikers down below:

Bottom of the pile

Kevin Phillips, Emmanuel Adebayor, Fernando Torres, Dimitar Berbatov and Mark Hughes

Look, these are all formidable strikers who were unstoppable in their primes, but in the broader context of the Premier League greats still to come, they simply don’t compare.

Kudos to Phillips for winning the European Golden Shoe at Sunderland in what remains a truly bonkers achievement, but it was the only time that he ever notched 15 or more Premier League goals in a season.

Adebayor racked up some pretty impressive numbers during his pomp without ever flirting with greatness, while Berbatov’s dazzling talent only ever produced lethal goalscoring in fits and starts.

Meanwhile, we can hear your outrage at Torres ranking quite so lowly, but what if we were to tell you that he only ever scored more than 15 goals in a Premier League twice? Ouch.

As for ‘Sparky’, we’re not being naive Gen-Z fans with no idea of how good he was during his United prime, but the simple fact of the matter is that his best football came before the Premier League era.

Football – Cardiff City v Chelsea – Barclays Premier League – Cardiff City Stadium – 11/5/14 Chelsea’s Fernando Torres after the final whistle Mandatory Credit: Action Images / John Sibley Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Great player, solid striker

Gianfranco Zola, Eric Cantona and Dennis Bergkamp

Truth be told, we’re a little bit confused as to why these players have made the template, but we’re willing to have the conversation because they did lead the line for their teams every now and again.

Well, maybe not so much in Zola’s case, but the moral of this tier is that all three players are far, far better Premier League footballers overall than they were specifically as ‘strikers’.

While they all undoubtedly had goalscoring streaks in their decorated careers, they can’t compete with the likes of even Dwight Yorke and Dion Dublin as number nines even if they’re infinitely better players generally.

Everton v Manchester United, 22/3/97, Premiership Pic : Tony O’Brien / Action Images Manchester United’s Eric Cantona celebrates after scoring the 2nd goal

Guaranteed goals

Diego Costa, Jermain Defoe, Luis Suarez, Nicolas Anelka, Mark Viduka, Dion Dublin, Carlos Tevez, Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

This category very much does what it says on the tin because although it would be a push to rank these forwards amongst the greatest of Premier League greats, they all knew where the back of the net was.

Costa might only have spent three seasons in England’s top-flight, but notching 20 goals in two of them, as well as a pair of first-place finishes, means that he’s more than worthy of a shoutout.

Elsewhere, Anelka, Dublin and Yorke essentially get free entry as members of the Premier League 100-goal club and Solskjaer is one of the finest finishers to ever find the back of the net on these shores.

Tevez and Viduka were never far away from producing a masterclass in marksmanship and Defoe came very, very close to climbing an extra rung as an oft-forgotten affiliate of the league’s top 10 scorers in history.

Perhaps one of the harshest selections might actually be Suarez because the former Liverpool star equalled the Premier League scoring record for a 38-game season in 2013/14 with a stunning 31 strikes.

However, within the context of the unerring consistency of centre forwards to come, we can’t allow two seasons of world-class performances to leave us punch-drunk about a player with ‘only’ 69 goals in the division.

Football – Cardiff City v Liverpool – Barclays Premier League – Cardiff City Stadium – 22/3/14 Liverpool’s Luis Suarez celebrates scoring his sides sixth goal and completes his hat trick Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Underrated

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Andy Cole, Romelu Lukaku, Les Ferdinand and Robbie Keane

How often do you hear these greats of Premier League goalscoring getting praised? Not often enough, that’s when.

Hasselbaink is arguably a Didier Drogba away from being Chelsea‘s greatest number nine this side of 1992, winning two Premier League Golden Boots, but seems to get lost in the shuffle for largely playing in the pre-Roman Abramovich era.

Meanwhile, it’s scandalous how infrequently you see Cole ranking highly in lists of the greatest Premier League strikers of all time when you consider that he’s third in the overall goalscoring charts.

Ferdinand’s deadly purple patches with Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle United are too often forgotten, while Keane’s cocktail of lethal finishing and creative influence is criminally undervalued.

Finally, as for Lukaku, the lazy social media narrative surrounding first touches and his Chelsea struggles shouldn’t take away from the fact that he became the youngest ever overseas player to break into the Premier League’s 100-goal club.

Soccer Football – Club World Cup – Semi Final – Al Hilal v Chelsea – Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – February 9, 2022 Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Simply lethal

Didier Drogba, Ian Wright, Robbie Fowler, Teddy Sheringham, Jamie Vardy, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Michael Owen and Robin van Persie

Welcome to the greatest Premier League strikers of all time who fall ever so slightly short of the top five.

While some people would argue that Drogba is overrated and his exploits in finals don’t count here, anyone who saw the two-time Golden Boot winner play knows that he was a force of nature in English football.

Meanwhile, Wright often gets lost in the shuffle because of a certain Arsenal icon still to come despite the fact that his Premier League goal-per-game ratio is the fifth-best out of any 100-goal club member.

Fowler and Owen were simply unstoppable when they burst on the scene, only to tail off due to injuries, while Sheringham and Vardy have goalscoring consistency and age-defying feats in common.

Van Nistelrooy is an exception to all our previous rules because regardless of never making the 100-goal club, there’s good reason to think that the United icon is the most lethal finisher in the competition’s history.

And maybe we’ve been a tad generous to Van Persie because his goal tallies did burn out for multi-season spells, but few career primes will ever compare to RVP’s hot-streak between 2010 and 2013.

Football – Southampton v Manchester United – Barclays Premier League – St Mary’s Stadium – 8/12/14 Robin Van Persie celebrates after scoring the first goal for Manchester United Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

All-time great

Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry

Welcome, mere mortals, to Premier League goalscoring royalty.

And yes, Kane really does make the grade because with Shearer’s all-time record in his cross hairs and only Henry – who he’s now outscored – boasting more Golden Boots, the Tottenham hero has GOAT tier potential.

Rooney endures as one of only two players to break 200 Premier League goals, as well as generally being an icon of the English game, while Aguero holds the hat-trick record and a staggering rate of 0.67 goals per game.

Then, perhaps controversially, we have Henry. The Arsenal legend might have our vote as the greatest ever Premier League player overall, but we just happen to think that one man has the edge on him as a centre forward…

Arsenal’s Thierry Henry celebrates his goal against West Ham during their premier league match at Upton Park August 24, 2002. The match ended 2-2. REUTERS/Ian Waldie NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT FAPL LICENSE. FOR DETAILS SEE WWW.FAPLWEB.COM. IW

GOAT

Alan Shearer

When it comes to strikers – there’s the key word, ladies and gents – nobody in Premier League history can lay a glove on Shearer and his mind-boggling record of 260 strikes that might never be beaten.

With three Golden Boots, 11 hat-tricks and 46 headed goals, Shearer left a trail of record-breaking numbers in his wake despite spending large swathes of his Premier League career milling about in mid-table.

Nothing infuriates me more than when Shearer is inexplicably omitted from some people’s all-time Premier League XIs because it feels as though his extraordinary goalscoring exploits are taken for granted.

Football – Newcastle United v Mansfield Town FA Cup Third Round – St James Park – 7/1/06 Alan Shearer celebrates scoring the first goal for Newcastle and equalling Jackie Milburn’s record of 200 goals Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Livepic

But what do you think?

Ok, ok, so we know you’re not happy with all of our selections, but that’s the joy of subjectivity in football and there’s no denying that the competition between Premier League greats is fierce.

As controversial as it might seem, the fact that yours truly considers Henry to be the greatest player that English football has seen since 1992 doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s the number one striker.

The simple fact of the matter is that Shearer too often gets lumped into the ‘blunt English weapon’ stereotype as though he wasn’t one of the most complete centre forwards that the modern era has ever seen.

Alan Shearer – Blackburn Rovers holds aloft the Premiership trophy Pic : Action Images

But anyhow, enough of my ranting and raving, it’s time for you to have your say and you can let us know how the Premier League’s greatest ever strikers stack up in your mind across our various social channels.

Then again, no matter what you and I happen to think, Kane will always be able to say that he’s scored more Premier League goals than Henry – and that’s no mean feat! Fair play, Harry, fair play.

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