Gareth Southgate: Harry Kane has ‘extra motivation’ as he targets England record after World Cup heartache
Areth Southgate says England captain Harry Kane will have “extra motivation” when he leads his country for the first time since missing a crucial penalty against France at the World Cup.
Kane remains tied with Wayne Rooney as his country’s all-time top scorer with 53 goals ahead of England’s return to action in Thursday’s European Championship qualifier against Italy in Naples.
The Tottenham striker squandered the record-breaking chance when he scored a second spot-kick of the match over the bar as England lost 2-1 to the eventual quarter-finalists final in Qatar in December.
Kane said he would never recover from the moment but it hasn’t impacted his form, and he has found the net 10 times for Spurs since the domestic restart.
“We’ve seen that mentality with his performances with his club, he’s put it behind him but he’ll have extra motivation tomorrow night to come back and show everyone what he does in an English shirt. It’s a good position,” Southgate said.
Asked where Kane ranks in the pantheon of great England strikers, Southgate added: “It’s always hard to compare across the ages. There’s a lot of things I haven’t seen because I wasn’t. not alive. Just because of his goalscoring record, it puts him in the upper echelons of the group. He brings so much more to the group than that. Quality of passing, vision, touch. He is an exceptional player and we’re lucky to have him.”
As they begin a new cycle, Southgate challenged England to score against the European champions, having not beaten Italy away for 62 years.
“In a nutshell, this is the kind of challenge we need to start taking and the kind of game we need to start winning,” he said.
“We have more than one period but we constantly have to do it. We haven’t won here since 1961, a big part of history that we have to turn around. It’s a big challenge for the team, they have knocked down those barriers in the past. It’s going to be a fabulous game.”