England manager Gareth Southgate has professed his belief in Tottenham Hotspur frontman Harry Kane, following the announcement of the 23-man England squad yesterday. Arguably, Harry Kane was the first name on the list as Southgate decided who made the cut for Russia and who did not. The striker has had his best ever season in front of goal, netting 30 Premier League goals and 41 in all competitions.
Kane would have won the coveted Premier League Golden Boot for a third consecutive year if it wasn’t for the explosive entrance of Liverpool’s Mohammad Salah, who pipped him to the post by two goals. Having banked 25, 29, and now 30 goals in three respective league campaigns – Harry has consistently proven himself one of Europe’s principal strikers.
— Harry Kane (@HKane) May 16, 2018
Southgate told beIN SPORTS that,
“One thing he [Kane] couldn’t be accused of is having a lack of focus, or hunger or a lack of belief in terms of wanting to be the best in the world… I know he will be looking forward to the challenge of taking that onto a world stage this summer, which is really where you have a chance as a player to make your mark”
This is, in fact, Harry Kane’s first World Cup. The 24-year-old has scored 12 goals in 23 appearances for England – which is an impressive strike rate considering that many players have struggled to replicate their success in domestic performances internationally – take Wayne Rooney for instance.
Unfortunately, the memory that most will still hold of Kane in an England shirt will be his underwhelming performances in the 2016 Euros. Whilst Harry Kane started all four games, he didn’t score once. He was substituted at halftime against Wales – which turned out to be the only game England won. For some reason, Roy Hodgson had Kane taking corners and free kicks all tournament, which caused discontent among the fans.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 16, 2018
To be fair, that whole tournament was no more than a stain on the history of English national football. It was a tournament which saw us win once – and exit the competition following a defeat to Iceland. Iceland gave a superb and unified performance – but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they were a vastly inexperienced footballing nation with a population roughly equal to Croydon. The blame lies with the whole squad, Harry was just one unfortunate element.
Since then the young lion has matured, has scored many more goals and has thrived against teams like Real Madrid on the biggest stage in club football. He has recently been criticised for rushing his ankle injury, and a subsequent dip in form resulting from his impatience. However, in that time, Kane still managed to score six goals in eight games. It is fair to say the fate of our national hopes rests somewhat on this man’s shoulders. Southgate is yet to select a captain for the tournament, but it is understood that Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson are the strongest candidates for the armband.