Harry Kane outlined how he was ‘proud’ to move past Sir Geoff Hurst in England’s all-time scoring charts – but the striker admits he will ultimately be judged on whether or not he too leads the Three Lions to victory in a major tournament.
Kane scored a hat-trick – his second for his country – as Gareth Southgate’s side beat Bulgaria 4-0 at Wembley to maintain their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualification.
That took the 26-year-old’s England tally to 25 goals from 40 games – and moved him ahead of the likes of Hurst (24) and Stan Mortensen (23).
Harry Kane has expressed his pride in overtaking Sir Geoff Hurst in the England scoring stakes
‘Whenever stuff like that happens it’s always a proud moment for me and it shows that the hard work I’m putting in is paying off,’ Kane said.
‘But as you know with me by now, it’s always to carry on and keep getting better, scoring more goals and hopefully I can score goals for England for many years to come.’
England have now gone more than 50 years without winning a major trophy. Hurst scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final and last night Kane insisted individual honours will always play second fiddle to how the country perform at World Cups and European Championships.
After his hat-trick against Bulgaria Kane sits on 25 goals, one more than legendary Hurst (left)
‘That’s always what you’re going to be judged on come the end of your career,’ he said.
‘Of course it’s great to get goals and individual stuff but the most important thing is winning team trophies and obviously England haven’t done that for a long time now.
‘That’s my goal as captain and I know all the boys want to win and want to win tournaments but we’ve sat here and spoke about it for the last 10, 15, 20 years and longer and it hasn’t happened.’
Captain Kane led England to the semi-finals of last year’s World Cup and the striker said they must ‘use that as motivation to go all the way at the Euros’ next year.
Under Southgate, England are cruising through qualification, having scored 14 goals and conceded just one in their three wins so far. A year out from the tournament, Kane believes the Three Lions are well-placed to compete with the world’s best teams.
‘I think we’ve made a lot of progress. Since the gaffer came in, performance wise we’ve done a lot better,’ he said.
‘We have exciting players (and) I think we’re at a level where we can compete with the likes of France, Spain, Italy and Holland and Italy but it’s about doing it in a major tournament.
Kane has faith in the current England crop and believes the squad is ready to compete
‘We’ve had a little taste of that, we haven’t played the biggest of teams in those major tournaments but that’s going to come and that only comes in experience.
‘For sure we feel we can beat them but tournament football is definitely different to playing a one-off friendly. So over this period – physically and mentally – we have to make sure we keep improving and we can hopefully take that into next summer.’
After netting his second England hat-trick, Kane was keen to credit the contribution of his team-mates. Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford were both dangerous at Wembley, while Chelsea starlet Mason Mount made his England debut at Wembley.
On England’s wealth of young talent, Kane said: ‘It’s great for me, it’s great for the country, it’s great for the fans – they’re so exciting to watch…. they were causing problems all game and obviously Mason came on. Big congratulations to him.’
He added: ‘You could see he wanted to get on the ball, he wanted to create chances, he was getting his shots off and as a team that’s what we are going to need.’
On Saturday, though, it was Kane who made the difference in front of goal. He scored two penalties and eight of his 25 England goals have now come from the spot.
Like Hurst, Kane feels himself and the current England team must go on to win trophies
After the game Southgate paid tribute to his captain’s professionalism. ‘We stood and watched him take penalties for about 20 minutes yesterday and when you watch the process he goes through, he just gives himself every chance of succeeding,’ he said.
‘(To) see his professionalism and the way that he works at his game, he’s an incredible example… in those moments, he really has supreme temperament and technique.’
He added: ‘When he gets his moment, he just has an outstanding mindset and, technically, he’s a top, top finisher.
‘But I go back to the fact that’s hours and hours of practice and if you talk to some of the other forwards in the squad, they would talk to you about how big an impression that has had on them… sometimes you can take part in finishing practices that can be a little bit half-hearted or not as focused as they might be, but he’s on it every single time. That’s where you get the transfer into the game.’