The trophies handed out at the end of the season, and the medals gathered by the end of a career, are seen as the only true gauge of attainment; what a player might achieve individually is always secondary to what success it produces, a means rather than an end. It is in the team that glory lies.
It is an admirable philosophy, one to which all those actively involved in the game subscribe almost universally, but it is one that undersells the significance, the status, perhaps subconsciously afforded to the rarest, most precious individual watermarks. Glory, it is fair to say, comes in many forms.
Shearer is an apposite example. He did, of course, win a Premier League title; just the one, with Blackburn Rovers in 1995. That is not, though, how he is remembered, as a “mere” English champion. Nobody much under the age of 35 would remember that Blackburn team; a whole generation has been born and raised since he scored that final goal against Sunderland.
Instead, Shearer is revered now for his status as the Premier League’s leading goal-scorer. It is, after all, something only he can claim, the one thing that Shearer has that, for two decades, nobody else has possessed. It has carried his name through history in a way that winning the league could not. It is his glory, and it is his glory alone.
That is what Kane has at his fingertips: not just a fleeting statistical quirk but a piece of history that is all his, something that will endure long after his career has finished. He would, doubtless, prefer it to be accompanied by something more tangible, a piece of silver and gold, something that can be mounted and framed and admired, a triumph shared with his teammates, with his family, with his fellow Tottenham fans.
But to have scored more goals for Tottenham than anyone, to be the player with the most goals in the Premier League: These are no mere trifles. They ensure Kane’s name will echo, resonant and proud, long after he has slipped into the past. And that, in many ways, is the ultimate form of glory.