Comparing Romelu Lukaku to the four youngest players to score 100 PL goals

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Romelu Lukaku reached a career milestone this weekend with his 100th Premier League goal – but how does he compare to the Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United men who did so at a younger age?

Lukaku became the fifth youngest player to score 100 Premier League goals when he netted in Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat of Swansea City at Old Trafford.

It is notable that the three youngest players on the list went on to have careers which did not fit the traditional path expected of professional footballers.

We’ve taken a look at what each player had achieved by the time they reached 100 goals in the Premier League. Could Lukaku’s career follow a similar path?

Goals per game

Lukaku is the 12th fastest player to reach the landmark and fourth slowest of these five players, hitting his century in his 216th Premier League appearance at a rate of 0.46 goals per game.

Only Alan Shearer fired 100 goals faster than Kane, who reached triple figures in his 141st appearance thanks to a rate of  0.71 goals per game.

Fowler’s opening ton of Premier League goals came at 0.57 per game, as he reached the figure in his 175th appearance.

Fellow Liverpool striker Owen, meanwhile, took 10 matches more, scoring at a rate of 0.54 goals per game.

Rooney was the slowest of the five to reach 100 Premier League goals (247 matches), scoring 0.4 goals per game.

Champions League goals

Lukaku is relatively inexperienced at Champions League level, having spent the majority of his club career at Everton, but he has scored five goals in European football’s main competition for United this season.

Kane, meanwhile, had scored seven times in the Champions League by the time he reached 100 Premier League goals, and added an eighth against Juventus soon afterwards.

With Manchester United established as regular Champions League contenders, Rooney had 14 goals in the competition to his name by the time he reached his triple figures in the Premier league.

Owen was not able to rely on regular Champions League football, meaning he had scored six goals, while Fowler did not make a single appearance in the competition until later on in his career.

READ: Michael Owen, Ronaldo & the injustice of recency bias ruining reputations

International goals

Lukaku’s international record is nothing short of exceptional having scored 33 times in 66 caps for Belgium and become his country’s top scorer of all time at the age of 24.

Kane may be the Belgian’s contemporary at club level, but his international career is still in its infancy in comparison, the Tottenham hitman having scored 12 goals in 23 appearances for England.

By the time Rooney scored his 100th Premier League goal, he had already been playing for England for seven years, bagging 25 times in the process.

Likewise, Owen was also a fixture of the England team by that point, and had 22 international goals to his name, just over half his total number.

Rising to prominence in the mid-90s, Fowler was in the unfortunate position of having to compete with the likes of Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham, Ian Wright, Les Ferdinand, Matt Le Tissier and Chris Sutton for a place in the England side, and had only scored twice for the Three Lions by the time he had 100 in the Premier League.

READ: Robbie Fowler: 10 reasons why he’ll always be God to Liverpool fans

Trophies

At the time of scoring his 100th Premier League goal, Lukaku has won two trophies in his career: the 2009-10 Belgian title and the 2012 FA Cup, albeit he appeared only once in the competition for Chelsea that season.

Kane, of course, has won plenty of personal accolades but is yet to win a trophy with Spurs. The closest he has come so far is finishing as a runner-up in the League Cup.

At the age of scoring his 100th Premier League goal, Rooney was by far the most successful of the five players mentioned. With Manchester United he had won three Premier League titles, the League Cup, the Champions League and Club World Cup.

Owen had also enjoyed a successful career up to that point, winning the FA Cup, two League Cups, the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and even the Ballon d’Or.

Fowler eventually shared much of the success Owen had at Liverpool, but when he first became a Premier League centurion he had only the 1995 League Cup to his name,

Injuries

Alongside his goalscoring prowess, one of the most remarkable things about Lukaku is his durability. The longest spell on the sidelines the striker has faced to date was the month he missed for Everton in 2013-14 due to a torn ankle ligament.

Over the last couple of seasons, Kane has picked up a couple of injuries which have left his club sweating on his return to fitness. In 2016-17, he was twice ruled out for periods due to an ankle injury, a problem which has also resurfaced this term.

Rooney began his United career returning from the metatarsal injury which ended his Euro 2004. His first 100 Premier League goals were interspersed by brief spells on the sidelines, but it was not until later in his career he began to pick up injuries more regularly.

Fowler could have reached the 100-goal mark a lot sooner were it not for a serious knee injury suffered in the 1997-98 season which saw the forward miss half the season and the summer’s World Cup in France, although it was his absence which presented Owen with an opportunity in the Liverpool first team.

Owen’s later career was decimated by injuries – and there were signs of what was to come in his youth. He won the Golden Boot in 1998-99, but his season was ended abruptly by a hamstring injury which would continue to plague him for the following 12 months.


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