Harry Kane pressed to break England goalscoring record as Hungary clash looms | England
HArry Kane was the first England player to congratulate Wayne Rooney. It was September 2015, Rooney had just scored his 50th international goal to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s record for the country – from the penalty spot against Switzerland at Wembley – and Kane was straight at him, whispering something to him in her ear before kissing her.
At the time, Kane was at the start. The 22-year-old came on in the 58th minute for his fourth cap and opened the scoring soon after with his third goal at this level. Rooney’s late penalty would cap off a 2-0 victory in European Championship qualifying.
What Kane remembers is how emotion gripped Rooney. “I saw how much it meant to him and his family,” he says. And it’s also probably fair to say that the half-century must have felt like a dot on the horizon for Kane, even though he always set ambitious personal goals.
It’s on him now and Rooney’s record of 53 isn’t much further either. Kane is in Saturday’s Nations League opener against Hungary in Budapest with 49 goals and the opportunity is tantalizing, especially with three more draws in the competition to follow in the coming week and a half – against Germany in Munich and Italy and Hungary in Wolverhampton.
Rooney said it would be best for Kane to break the record before the World Cup in Qatar, which kicks off on November 21, to eliminate a potential distraction. England still have two games ahead of them – the Nations League second legs against Italy and Germany on September 23 and 26.
Kane, in his own words, would like to “break it down as soon as possible”, although he is “someone who doesn’t let that kind of thing affect me when I’m on the pitch”, when it comes to to help the team win. But the wider impression Kane gave on Friday was that time flew by so quickly, from Rooney’s record goal to his own shot.
“It’s all going so fast,” Kane said. “Major tournaments come so fast, games come fast and year after year you go up that ranking…it’s great to be close to 50.”
The World Cup will be here before we know it and, for Kane and England manager Gareth Southgate, it’s about squeezing every last drop out of the time they have together, which doesn’t is not much, or at least not nearly as much. as they would like. The Nations League group stage, therefore, takes on much greater importance than it normally should. It’s not so much a tune-up for Qatar. That’s the only focus.
“We don’t have many days on the training ground between now and our first game in the final, so everything we do has to be focused,” Southgate said. “These Nations League matches are excellent preparation as they are top level matches. These are different types of tests and we also have to see different players. We have to learn a thing or two. But we have to keep winning football matches because it’s an important habit to have. We also want to make the last four of this competition if we can.
England have a recent history with Hungary and it has been acrimonious. The 4-0 World Cup qualifier victory in Budapest last September was marred by some home fans who led monkey chants at England players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham, while the 1-1 draw at Wembley in the same competition the following month saw crowd trouble. within the visiting area. It was sparked when Metropolitan Police officers entered the stand to arrest a supporter for a ‘racially aggravated public order offense following remarks made to a steward’.
In terms of football, Southgate notes how the Budapest game was “very different to anything I’ve seen from Hungary in the last two or three years” because they were so open. The tighter organization at Wembley was more characteristic and England should expect something similar on Saturday. It was the night Southgate started with two attacking-minded No.8s in a 4-3-3 system. It did not work.
Kane enters the right place. This time last year, he wanted to leave Tottenham but it doesn’t feel like we’re in the same territory of the transfer saga with him. Kane finished the domestic season in excellent form, earning a PFA Player of the Year nomination; Spurs have qualified for the Champions League and manager Antonio Conte is planning his future with the club.
“Every time you finish strong, there’s always a freer spirit on the international stage,” Kane said. “I feel confident, I feel free.”
Southgate added: “Harry seems very happy, his football is good. Spurs qualified for the Champions League so when you’re a player you want to be involved in the biggest games possible. Every time a player is settled and happy, it makes a huge difference in the way they play.
Kane mentioned how England rugby star Marcus Smith watched the team train at St George’s Park and spent time with them. Kane is obsessed with advice from athletes in different fields and it’s no secret that he chose the brains of American football icon Tom Brady, among others. Kane loves the sport of Brady and has said he would love to be an NFL kicker one day while his passion for golf is also well documented.
“I guess my ideal career would be [to win] a World Cup, a Super Bowl and maybe a green Masters jacket,” Kane says with a smile. It’s the first item in the bucket list that consumes it. The next four games promise to be instructive.