Gareth Southgate has backed Harry Kane to break Wayne Rooney’s England goal record sooner rather than later and praised the striker’s mentality.
Kane scored England’s match-winner from the penalty spot on Saturday to help the Three Lions to a 2-1 win over Switzerland.
That was the Tottenham man’s 48th goal for England, which meant that he overtook Gary Lineker’s record and now has the joint second-most goals for the Three Lions along with Bobby Charlton (Goal.com).
Only Wayne Rooney, with 53 strikes, now sits above Kane in the list and Southgate admitted that the team benefits from the striker’s ambition of chasing down Rooney’s record.
The England boss also praised the mentality that the 28-year-old has in training, admitting that he is always desperate to be involved.
After his side’s 2-1 in over Switzerland, Southgate told Sky Sports: “The names he is in and amongst now are incredible. Harry will appreciate that history, it will mean a lot to him to be in and amongst those names.
“You have to say he looks favourite to go and do that [break the record]. I don’t want to put any sort of curse on that by saying any more.
“He wants the team to do well as well, he’s got this dual drive which means that whenever he turns up, he’s got individual ambition and there is never a camp where he looks like he doesn’t want to play. That mentality spreads through the rest of the group.”
When asked whether he would prefer Kane to wrap up the record before the World Cup, Southgate replied: “I would like him to break the record in the World Cup final!
“I think he’s quite calm about it, he’s confident he can get there, his goals-per-game record is phenomenally good. I don’t know where that compares to Jimmy Greaves, but I imagine he would be the only other player close.”
Southgate admitted that there is going to be plenty of pressure on Kane’s shoulders heading into the World Cup in Qatar.
However, he insisted that his captain is experienced at dealing with those expectations, having been England’s main star over the last few major tournaments.
He added: “Harry knows there is always going to be speculation. If he doesn’t break it before then [the World Cup], people will say he’s out of form and ask whether he should be in the team!
“One way or another, the focus will be on him, he’s used to dealing with it, and I’m sure he’ll be very calm about it whatever way.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I expect Kane to continue playing at the top level at least for another five years. So, he has a great chance of potentially scoring around 80 goals and setting a record that will not be beaten by any England player for a long time to come.
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