Football News

How Harry Kane compares to the best penalty takers in Europe’s top five leagues

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:15, 9 September 2019

Harry Kane once again proved his prolificacy from the spot, scoring two penalties in England’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria on Saturday.

With his first, he sent Plamen Iliec the wrong way before beating the goalkeeper with sheer power for his second – completing his hat-trick and moving above Geoff Hurst on the list of England’s all-time top goalscorers.

Five things to know about Harry Kane’s penalties…

  • Kane scored two penalties in England’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria on Sunday.
  • The first sent the goalkeeper the wrong way, before the power of the second beat him.
  • They were the eighth and ninth penalties Kane has scored since the start of 2017/18.
  • Only Loris Karius has saved a penalty from Kane in that time, in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool in February 2018.
  • But Kane does not boast the best record among players operating in Europe’s top five leagues.

It brought the ninth time Kane has scored from the penalty spot in 10 attempts for Tottenham Hotspur and England since the start of the 2017/18 season, only failing to score against Liverpool in February 2018 – though he would convert another penalty opportunity later in the same match.

And rather than just relying on natural abilities, penalties are something Kane appears to practice regularly, according to England manager Gareth Southgate.

“He was practising for a good 20 minutes on Friday and with the process that he goes through you are so confident that he is going to connect well and he makes it difficult to know for the goalkeeper where he is going to put it,” Southgate said after the match.

“Of course there will always be a moment when a goalkeeper makes an excellent save, but you are as confident as you possibly can be because of his deliberate practice.

“He is a great example for any young kid.”

But despite his practice, Kane does not boast the best penalty record among players operating in Europe’s top five leagues since the start of the 2017/18 season. That honour belongs to Kane’s former Spurs team-mate Nabil Bentaleb, who has scored all 12 of his penalty attempts.

The Schalke midfielder is joined with a perfect record by Neymar and Cristhian Stuani who have scored all 10 of their penalties, though the latter will not have a chance to add to that at club level this season, following his relegation to the Spanish second division with Girona.

Full list (via BBC) of most penalties scored by players in Europe’s top five leagues since the start of 2017-18 season:

1. Nabil Bentaleb – 12 out of 12 (100%)
2. Neymar – 10 out of 10 (100%)
3. Cristhian Stuani – 10 out of 10 (100%)
4. Sergio Ramos – 10 out of 11 (90.9%)
5. Nicolas Pepe – 10 out of 11 (90.9%)
6. Fabio Quagliarella – 18 out of 20 (90%)
7. Ever Banega – 9 out of 10 (90%)
8. Harry Kane – 9 out of 10 (90%)
9. Luka Milivojevic – 17 out of 19 (89.5%)
10. Robert Lewandowski – 16 out of 18 (88.9%)
11. Ciro Immobile – 13 out of 15 (86.7%)
12. Cristiano Ronaldo – 13 out of 15 (86.7%)
13. Mauro Icardi – 13 out of 15 (86.7%)

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Kane on penalty practice routine

Adding to Southgate’s revelations on Kane practicing penalties after training, the England and Spurs striker admitted he can take anywhere from 10 to 50 depending on how he feels.

“I work quite a bit on it,” he said.

“The team we have and the skill set we have, I think we are going to get quite a lot of penalties at international level.

“We did them on Friday with a few of the lads for 20 minutes or half an hour, making sure I felt good over it and luckily I put them away today.”

He added: “I always go with my feeling – it could be 10, it could be 50, it depends how I feel on the day. We have such explosive, skilful players so we’re always going to get penalties.”