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Premier League pain amid England excellence – Harry Kane’s contrasting fortunes

Kane has struggled badly for goals in the league so far this season.

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Harry Kane has toiled in the league but scored freely elsewhere (Nick Potts/PA)

Harry Kane has toiled in the league but scored freely elsewhere (Nick Potts/PA)

Harry Kane has toiled in the league but scored freely elsewhere (Nick Potts/PA)

Harry Kane’s scoreless outing against Leeds on Sunday extended the contrast between his form in the Premier League and other competitions.

The Tottenham striker saw a second-half shot turned on to a post by Illan Meslier and has now scored only once in 11 league appearances this season, matching the worst such run in his career.

While that has been attributed in large part to pre-season speculation over a move to Manchester City, Kane has been unhindered in other competitions with 16 goals in 12 appearances for Spurs and England outside of league action. Here, the PA news agency compares his record.

Premier League

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Harry Kane has played more league minutes than in other competitions combined this season, but has only one goal to show for it (PA graphic)

Harry Kane has played more league minutes than in other competitions combined this season, but has only one goal to show for it (PA graphic)

Harry Kane has played more league minutes than in other competitions combined this season, but has only one goal to show for it (PA graphic)

11 appearances (918 minutes), 1 goal

Kane was not in the matchday squad as Spurs opened their campaign with a win over City, returning as a second-half substitute against Wolves before tweeting that he would be “staying at Spurs this summer”.

That vague commitment did not immediately translate into success on the pitch, with scoreless outings against Watford, Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Arsenal and Aston Villa as Spurs lost three of those games.

He finally produced a flash of form against Newcastle with a goal and an assist, his only entry in each category this season after leading the league in both last term.

West Ham, Manchester United, Everton and now Leeds have since shut him out, leaving him with less than 0.1 goals per 90 minutes for the league season.

His shot tally has gradually picked up after a shocking start, but he still has only 25 so far to rank joint 20th among Premier League players. That would be his lowest for any season since he became a regular starter in 2014-15 and comes after he led the league in shots last season for the third time in six years.

Only once has he ranked outside the top 10, joint 15th in 2019-20 with 81 attempts. He is on track for a similar total this term but will have to pick up speed significantly if he is to match that season’s haul of 18 league goals.

Other competitions

12 appearances (837 minutes), 16 goals

Seven goals in barely two hours of international football earlier this month highlighted the contrast with Kane’s league struggles and sent his season’s total in all competitions soaring.

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He rattled in a perfect hat-trick in the World Cup qualifier against Albania, crowned by a spectacular scissor kick, and then scored four in 15 minutes before half-time against San Marino before being substituted in the 63rd minute of each game.

That followed goals in all three of England’s September qualifiers against Hungary, Andorra and Poland, before he watched October’s return with Andorra from the bench and was kept at bay by Hungary at Wembley.

Another hat-trick came for Spurs in the Europa Conference League rout of Slovenian side Mura, with a brace against Pacos Ferreira lifting him to five in four games in that competition, while he also scored in the Carabao Cup clash with Wolves as well as the penalty shoot-out in which Spurs won the tie.

While he has played 12 games in other competitions compared to 11 in the league, he has actually played 81 minutes fewer, meaning his ratio of almost a goal every 52 minutes is 17.5 times better than in the league.

The relative standard of opposition is obviously a factor but, the longer Kane’s Jekyll-and-Hyde performances continue, the more of a talking point it becomes.

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