Harry Kane has officially written his name into English football folklore.
Kane’s 54th England goal came against Italy, the country who denied him the chance to lift the European Championships back in 2021, and, rather fittingly, it was scored from the penalty spot – the area of the pitch that caused Kane so much grief at the 2022 World Cup.
England delivered a superb first-half performance against the Italians and recorded their first away victory against them for 61 years. The second half of the game was noticeably poorer in quality, but Southgate’s men did just enough to down Italy and avenge their heartbreaking loss at Wembley 20 months ago.
Harry Kane also became Tottenham’s all-time top scorer earlier this year and is enjoying one of his most prolific Premier League campaigns in recent memory. For a player once described as a ‘one-season wonder’, Kane has certainly stood the test of time and proved his initial doubters wrong.
A decade ago, Kane was traversing the EFL Championship playing for Norwich City and Leicester City – attaining valuable game-time and professional experience in the process. He was initially introduced into the Tottenham squad gradually, however an injury to Roberto Soldado resulted in Kane being thrust into the deep end. The result was a 31-goal season in 2014/15, 21 of which coming in the Premier League.
This was where the ‘one-season wonder’ trope began for Harry Kane, and he followed this up by netting 28 goals in 2015/16 and 35 in 2016/17 – the season where Tottenham were very close to winning the league.
The 2017/18 season was the campaign where Kane announced himself as a truly world-class player, scoring 41 goals for Tottenham and also winning the Golden Boot at the FIFA World Cup. For a player who was somewhat of a late bloomer and was never tipped for greatness, Kane has far exceeded expectations.
We’re lucky to live in an age where English football is in such a healthy position. Without sounding hyperbolic, I fully believe that the current crop of England players are the best in international history – possessing more overall quality than the 1970 Brazil side and more unity than the 1998 French side. Southgate truly has an embarrassment of riches, and Harry Kane is the cherry on top.
I sincerely hope that Kane goes on to score at least 54 more goals for England and cement himself as the greatest European player in history.