The Premier League is played in England, but no league in the world has its international appeal and it’s multinational perception. Contrary to the trend of foreign stars swarming to the league’s top and mid-tier clubs, the league’s Golden Boot winner (for top scorer) has been English over the last two years. But Harry Kane seems like a rarity, with the years before his emergence filled with non-English top scorers, leaving the local finishers behind. The early days of the Premier League, even after the Bosman rule, were dominated by English scorers.
So to remind everyone there are and were good English goalscorers in the Premier League even without finishing on top, here’s a look back at the top English scorer of each Premier League season.
Teddy Sheringham was the top scorer of the first Premier League season, scoring 22 goals. He played for Nottingham Forest for three matches (one goal scored) before Spurs signed him for £2.1 million, scoring 21 goals in 38 matches. In fact, in the pre-Bosman days, the Premier League was a step behind other big leagues in Europe when it came to top class foreign players. The highest scoring non-Englishman was Eric Cantona with 15 goals, which was tied for 7th overall.
As Manchester United won its second consecutive league title, it was Newcastle’s Andy Cole who won the league’s golden boot, leading the scoring charts with 34 goals in 40 matches. Alan Shearer of Blackburn came in second with 31 goals. The 7 top scorers in the league were English. Once again, it was Cantona, this time with 18 goals, who led the foreign players in scoring.
Shearer scored 34 goals to lead the league in scoring overall and Blackburn to a historic title. The top five scorers, including Andy Cole with 21 goals, were English. The best tally by a foreign player was also 21 goals, scored by Tottenham’s Jurgen Klinsmann.
This was the last season that began without the Bosman rule in effect (came through in the middle of the season). Shearer with 31 goals was once more the top scorer, and was followed by three English players. Andrei Kanchelskis of Everton was the top foreign scorer with 15 goals, 5th best overall.
Shearer, for the third straight season, won the golden boot with 25 goals, this time as a Newcastle player. However, four players among the top 10 scorers were foreign, led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United with 18 goals. The dominance of English strikers in the charts was starting to diminish.
The Premier League had three joint top scorers that season: Dion Dublin of Coventry, Michael Owen of Liverpool and Chris Sutton of Blackburn, each scoring 18 goals. All three were English. The top non-English scorer was also a three-way tie: Dennis Bergkamp of Arsenal, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink of Leeds and Kevin Gallacher (Scottish) of Blackburn, each with 16 goals. Andy Cole and Darren Huckerby were the only other English players in the top 10.
Another season with joint top scorers, but for the first time, one of them wasn’t English. Hasselbaink (Dutch) and Dwight Yorke of Manchester United scored 18 goals, just like Michael Owen of Liverpool, who was the top English scorer once more.
A solo winner of the Golden Boot, and an English one. Kevin Phillips of Sunderland scored a whopping 30 goals to lead the league in scoring. Dwight Yorke of United finished with 20 goals to lead the foreign players.
Hasselbaink was the top scorer, now playing for Chelsea, scoring 23 goals. This was the first time a non-English player was the solo leader of the scoring charts. The top English scorer was Marcus Stewart (2nd overall) of Ipswich with 19 goals.
Alan Shearer scored 23 goals for Newcastle to place himself tied at second alongside Hasselbaink and Ruud Van Nistelrooy to lead all English scorers that season. Thierry Henry was the overall leader with 24 goals.
With the top two spots grabbed by Henry and Van Nistelrooy, the leading English scorer (and third overall) that season was James Beattie, then playing for Southampton. The Lancaster born player scored 23 goals, by far his best tally in the Premier League.
Once more, it was Shearer scoring more than any other English player. His 22 goals was good enough for second overall (behind Henry, leading Arsenal on the Invincibles season). Owen and Beattie were the only other English scorers in the top 10.
Andy Johnson scored 21 goals for Crystal Palace that season to place himself as the best scorer among the English players. Good enough for second overall behind Henry. Other English players in the top 10 were Frank Lampard, Andy Cole and Peter Crouch.
Darren Bent, playing for Charlton that season, scored 18 goals, good enough for third overall, finishing behind Van Nistelrooy and Henry. Other English scorers in the top 10 were Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Marlon Harewood.
Wayne Rooney finished 4th overall on the scoring charts with 14 goals, which was good enough to lead the English players, sitting behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Benni McCarthy and Didier Drogba. Darren Bent was the only other English player in the top 10.
For the first time ever, there was no English player in the top 10. Just outside, tied for 11th, were both Rooney and Jermain Defoe (playing for Portsmouth and Tottenham that season), scoring 12 goals each.
Another first – The top english scorer wasn’t a striker. Steven Gerrard of Liverpool finished third overall with his 16 goals. There were five other English players with at least 12 goals that season.
The top English scorer that season was once again Wayne Rooney, making a nice run until the end of the season, challenging Didier Drogba, but falling short, just like his club did against Chelsea in the title race. Rooney finished with 26 goals that season.
Once again it’s Darren Bent, who played for Sunderland and Aston Villa that season, scoring 17 goals; good enough for fourth overall, sitting behind Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez and Robin van Persie.
Once more it’s Rooney, who had a tendency to have his best seasons when Manchester United ended up without the title. Rooney scored 27 goals, good enough for second overall, finishing behind Robin Van Persie, his teammate the next season.
Two players shared the honor of being the top English scorer that season, tied for 7th overall among all players. Rickie Lambert of Southampton and Frank Lampard of Chelsea, both scoring 15 goals.
Daniel Sturridge was part of a two-man scoring machine alongside Luis Suarez that season. Sturridge scored 21 goals to finish second overall behind his Uruguayan teammate and lead all English players.
Harry Kane made himself known that season, scoring 21 goals for Tottenham, although it was only enough to finish second overall, sitting behind Sergio Aguero. More and better were yet to come.
Kane became the first English player to lead the Premier League in scoring since Kevin Phillips for Sunderland in 2000 that season, hitting the net 25 times for Tottenham. Jamie Vardy, leading Leicester to a sensational league title, was joint second alongside Aguero with 24 goals.
Once again, Kane, this time with 29 goals and four hat tricks (one of them a 4-goal performance) in the second half of the season. The 2nd best English scorer was teammate Dele Alli with 18 goals, 6th overall.