A closer look at the numbers behind England’s top two leading goalscorers
Harry Kane moved ahead of Wayne Rooney as England’s outright record scorer with his successful penalty against Italy.
The Tottenham striker has taken just 81 caps to surpass Rooney’s previous national record of 53 goals.
Here, the PA news agency looks at England’s leading men’s goalscorers and how Kane compares to his predecessor as captain.
England’s leading scorers
Harry Kane (54 goals in 81 caps, 2015-present)
5️⃣4️⃣ goals and counting!
From @Ridgeway_fc to @England’s all-time record goalscorer 🤩
This is @Hkane’s #GrassrootsFootball story 📖
— England Football (@EnglandFootball) March 23, 2023
The Tottenham striker, who won the World Cup Golden Boot in 2018, had climbed quickly from fifth to third on the list with seven goals in two games against Albania and San Marino last November before passing Sir Bobby Charlton in June to head into the World Cup trailing only Rooney. He scored in the last 16 against Senegal to pass Lineker as England’s record scorer at major tournaments before his penalty against France brought him level, taking the outright lead with his successful spot-kick in Naples.
Wayne Rooney (53 goals in 120 caps, 2003-18)
Reached his half-century in his 107th cap, a win over Switzerland in which Kane also scored, but after adding two more goals in his next three games Rooney scored only once in his final 10 appearances. Also England’s most-capped outfield player with 120, Rooney only scored once at a World Cup finals tournament, against Uruguay in 2014, but his six European Championship goals leave him fourth among England scorers at major tournaments behind Kane, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer.
Sir Bobby Charlton (49 goals in 106 caps, 1958-70)
The 1966 World Cup winner scored on his debut in 1958, just two months after surviving the Munich air disaster which killed eight of his Manchester United team-mates. He broke Sir Tom Finney and Nat Lofthouse’s previous record of 30 by 1963 and scored twice in the 1966 semi-final before finishing his international career one short of a half-century. He eventually saw his United and England records both overhauled by Rooney.
Gary Lineker (48 goals in 80 caps, 1984-92)
The 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner scored 10 major-tournament goals for England – a record since passed by Kane – and managed five international hat-tricks including four-goal hauls against both Spain in 1987 and Malaysia in 1991. A missed penalty against Brazil in 1992 would have equalled the record then held by Charlton.
Jimmy Greaves (44 goals in 57 caps, 1959-67)
Tottenham’s record scorer until passed by Kane, Greaves also excelled for his country and his average of three goals every four games (0.77 goals per match) is comfortably the highest on this list. Injury deprived him of an appearance in the 1966 final against West Germany, where his replacement Sir Geoff Hurst secured his and England’s place in history with a hat-trick.
Michael Owen (40 goals in 89 caps, 1998-2008)
Despite an injury-hit career, Owen’s 10 years in the England team are more than many of the names ahead of him. He scored at four separate major tournaments, most memorably as a teenager at the 1998 World Cup when his solo goal against Argentina marked his emergence on the world stage.
Kane v Rooney
Kane’s scoring rate had slowed somewhat since moving into England’s top six scorers with 31 goals in his first 44 caps, but he got back on track with his fourth and fifth international hat-tricks – a feat never achieved by Rooney – against Albania and San Marino.
His half-century came up in 71 caps, by which point in Rooney’s international career the Liverpudlian had just 28 goals to his name.
When Rooney was the same age Kane is now, he had 48 goals from 105 caps. He went on to win a further 15, with Kane looking set for far more than that giving him the chance to lay down an imposing new goal record. Kane has captained England in 56 of his 81 games, compared to Rooney’s 22 games in the armband.
Kane has scored 47 goals in England wins, five in draws and just two in defeats, with 23 in England compared to 21 in away games and 10 on neutral territory. He has five against San Marino and four each against Germany, Albania, Bulgaria and Montenegro, scoring against 25 different opponents in all.
Eighteen penalties have helped him along the way – on three separate occasions he has scored two spot-kicks as part of a hat-trick.