Jamie Vardy made history this season after reaching a century of Premier League goals for Leicester, the forward becoming the 29th inductee into the division’s fabled 100 club after reaching the landmark total.
It’s a remarkable achievement for a player who didn’t make their Football League debut until the age of 25 and their Premier League bow two years later, Vardy having flourished as one of football’s great late bloomers to establish himself amongst the finest finishers in English football.
The 33-year-old Golden Boot winner has scored prolifically in recent seasons and his achievement came in his 206th appearance in the competition, but where does Vardy rank amongst the fastest players to reach the Premier League’s 100 club?
Here are the five fastest players to score 100 Premier League goals:
Ian Wright – 173 games
Ian Wright’s career pathway was not all too dissimilar to that of Vardy’s, rising from the depths of non-league to establish himself as a Premier League winner and one of the most influential players in his club’s history.
Wright’s big break came in the colours of Crystal Palace and after a prolific goalscoring record at Selhurst Park he headed to Arsenal in the early nineties, signing in a club-record deal and becoming the north London side’s greatest attacking threat throughout the early seasons of the Premier League era.
The forward was an instinctive finisher with a showman style, shouldering the Gunners’ goalscoring responsibility during a period in which the club were famed for their defensive resilience as opposed to any attacking impetus.
Wright reached a century of Premier League goals in just 173 appearances and later became the greatest goalscorer in Arsenal history, a hugely popular player whose name is still regularly sung on the terraces courtesy of his prolific record and repertoire of fine finishes.
Thierry Henry – 160 games
The man who eclipsed Wright as Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer, Thierry Henry’s career in English football is one which needs little introduction.
Henry arrived in north London from Juventus and soon established himself as the leading forward in the Premier League, winning a record four Golden Boots during a glittering eight-year spell that saw him twice named as the PFA Player of the Year and as the FWA Footballer of the Year on three occasions.
The Frenchman redefined the expectations of a centre-forward and was the trailblazer for the multi-functional attackers common in the modern game, drifting wide into dangerous areas and taking on more responsibility than simply putting away chances.
Rarely has a player looked quite as unstoppable as Henry in an Arsenal shirt, an irrepressible talent who breezed past opposition defenders at will, scoring ruthlessly and regularly during the finest period in the club’s Premier League history.
He reached 100 goals in just 160 league appearances for the Gunners, winning two league titles and becoming recognised as arguably the most influential player the division has seen.
Sergio Aguero – 147 games
The highest-scoring non-English player in Premier League history and Manchester City’s all-time record goalscorer, Sergio Aguero has made the art of finding the back of net become almost mundane following a sensational career at the Etihad.
No player has ever scored so clinically or with such regularity as the diminutive Argentine, who comes alive within the widths of the opposition goalposts with his low-centre of gravity and insatiable desire to get his name on the scoresheet.
Only two players have ever reached a century of Premier League goals in quicker fashion than Aguero, who boasts the joint-best goal-per-game ratio of any player to have achieved the feat.
It seems an odd take but there is a sense that Aguero remains under-appreciated when discussing the Premier League’s very best, despite his status as a four-time title winner and a player who has defined so many big games – scoring more goals than any other player against the division’s ‘top six’.
Statistics may only tell half the story, but there is no disputing Aguero’s place in the conversation of the Premier League’s greatest ever striker.
Harry Kane – 141 games
Only one player has ever reached the Premier League’s 100 club in quicker fashion than Harry Kane, the Tottenham star enjoying a blistering start to his career after being handed his opportunity with the north London side.
Kane burst onto the scene after coming through Spurs’ academy ranks and flourished amid regular first-team football, scoring 20+ league goals in four consecutive seasons and winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot in consecutive campaigns in 2015/16 and 2016/17.
The second of those seasons saw Kane score 29 goals in just 30 Premier League appearances, with no player in Premier League history having averaged a better goal-per-game ratio in a Golden Boot-winning season.
The England captain possesses a shoot-on-sight mentality and the selfish nature required to be amongst the world’s finest forwards, relishing in the responsibility of being the main man for both club and country.
He became the 27th player to reach 100 Premier League goals with a penalty against Liverpool in 2018, reaching the landmark figure in just 141 top-flight appearances.
Alan Shearer – 124 games
The greatest goalscorer in Premier League history and a man whose landmarks many feel will last the test of time, Alan Shearer plundered a phenomenal 260 top-flight goals during a prolific career in the colours of Blackburn Rovers and boyhood side Newcastle United.
Shearer remains the only player to have scored 30+ league goals in more than one campaign, achieving the feat three seasons in succession during a period at Ewood Park that delivered a Premier League title for Blackburn.
He became the first player in the division’s history to win three consecutive Golden Boot awards, winning two with Blackburn before claiming the honour a third time following a world-record move to St James’ Park.
Shearer was the talismanic forward presence of his generation and combined a natural finishing instinct with a willingness to engage in the combative side of the game, revelling in the adulation that came with the roar of a goal as he set off in celebration in one-handed signature style.
He reached 100 Premier League goals in just 124 league games, later becoming the most prolific goalscorer the division has seen and breaking Jackie Milburn’s Magpies’ goalscoring record.