Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Burnley
Tottenham Hotspurs striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring his third goal against Burnley on December 23. Reuters

A hat trick at Burnley on Saturday brought Tottenham Hotspurs striker Harry Kane level with legendary English forward Alan Shearer’s record for most goals scored in a calendar year, with 36. Kane also joint leads the Premier League so far in the 2017-18 season with 15, tied with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

Attacking midfielder Dele Alli’s form has dipped dramatically since last season, with the lowest goal haul among the front four of Kane, Alli, Christian Eriksen, and Son Heung-Min. As a result, the pressure to bring in goals has fallen squarely on Kane’s shoulders. And he has certainly delivered so far this campaign, coming good on his potential and staying free from serious injury.

Harry Kane scores against Burnley
Harry Kane scores his second of three goals against Burnley on Saturday, December 23. Reuters

With just one more strike tomorrow at Southampton, Kane will etch his name into the record books. Betting odds from Bet365 give the London native a 63.6 percent chance to hit the back of the net at least once tomorrow. His job also got significantly easier with the news that Southampton’s stalwart center back, Virgil Van Dijk, will likely sit out tomorrow’s match . Van Dijk was linked with a move to Liverpool over the summer, but the latest rumors have Manchester City closing in on an $80M swoop for the defender during the January transfer window.

Although it is Kane’s goal tally that — understandably — get the most attention, he is far from a one-dimensional player. His stat sheet for the season may only show one assist so far, but he is more than comfortable playing with back to goal to hit one-twos for his teammates or dropping into midfield to link up play and open up space in behind for wide players. Those are contributions that might not contribute to any records, but make him a vital Spurs player nonetheless.

Shearer, for his part, appears to be cheering Kane, congratulating him on Twitter for matching his yearly tally.

Another former English footballer, Gary Lineker, playfully suggested the Shearer was only pretending to be happy for Kane.

Shearer lit up the Premier League for 15 years, since it was formed in 1992 when he was playing for Blackburn Rovers until he retired while playing for Newcastle United in 2006. In addition to the calendar year record he set with Rovers in 1995, he also holds records for most all-time goals scored in the Premier League (260), goals scored in a season (31), and hat tricks (11).

At only 24 years old, as Kane closes in on one of Shearer’s previously insurmountable records, it seems entirely possible if not likely that England’s newest sensational striker, with 93 Premier League goals to his name and seven hat tricks, will break at least one of Shearer’s records before he’s through.