June 18, 2019

Euro 2020 qualifying: Kane happy with “perfect” start

March 23, 2019
Kane
Harry Kane

Harry Kane is pleased that the goal-scoring burden is now being shared across the England team.

The Three Lions captain scored a penalty on the stroke of half-time as Gareth Southgate’s side thrashed the Czech Republic 5-0 in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier on Friday night.

But it was Raheem Sterling who stole the show with a Wembley hat-trick, an own goal from Tomas Kalas wrapping up the rout for England.

From the initial 25-man squad named by Southgate, Marcus Rashford, who has since withdrawn through injury, was the second-highest scorer at senior international level.

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The Manchester United man’s six goals have now been eclipsed by Sterling’s seven, with Kane well clear of his current England colleagues on 21.

But Sterling can now boast five goals from his last three international starts and, sitting just two behind Kane’s 17 Premier League strikes for the season, the Tottenham striker feels there are now goals throughout the current England side.

“I think to be a top nation or a top team you have to have four or five players scoring goals throughout the season,” he said.

“Obviously Raheem has been doing it for club and country, Jadon (Sancho) has been doing it for his club (Borussia Dortmund) and he got an assist, so it is important whoever plays in that front three – and even the midfielders like Dele (Alli) and Ross (Barkley) who come in and make those forwards runs – to chip in as well.

“Without the ball we all defend, we all work hard so clean sheets are important and Friday was the perfect example.

“You have got Callum (Hudson-Odoi) and Jadon who are very young, but they just want to get on the ball and play one-v-one against players.

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“Raheem is in great form for club and country, so it is great to be playing with him at the moment and we have great options.

“Obviously Marcus is unfortunately injured at the moment, but that is what we want, we want players who take people on, run in behind and score goals as well and that is what they are doing.”

Although they started their Euro 2020 campaign in style, Kane is expecting a different test when England face Montenegro in Podgorica on Monday night – and does not want talk of another 100 per cent record in qualification to start just yet.

“Hopefully,” Kane replied when asked if repeating the feat of winning all their qualifiers – as they did before a disastrous Euro 2016 – was achievable.

“I am not going to say we are, because in football anything can happen.

“Montenegro is not going to be easy, the fans out there are going to be loud and hostile and try and make it tough for us.

“We have got to be professional, there are quite a lot of players in the squad who haven’t been to places like that yet, so it will be a good experience for them.

“We are feeling good at the moment, we feel we can beat anyone and confidence is high.”

Kalas, currently on loan at Bristol City from Chelsea, also insisted England place at next summer’s finals are not a given – even if they are the strongest side in Group A.

“Obviously all of England expects that everyone else will be playing for second place and England will have an easy way to win the group,” he said.

“It might happen, it might not, in football not always the best team wins. Friday it happened, but nowhere is it written that England are going to win.”

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