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Monday, June 17, 2024

‘Immortality’ beckons if Kane ends his wait to win a trophy

Harry Kane’s winner against Denmark to send England into their first major tournament final for 55 years was his 275th goal for club and country.
Yet, at 27, the England captain is still yet to win a trophy.

That could all change spectacularly on Sunday should Kane become the first Englishman since Bobby Moore in 1966 to lift a major piece of international silverware.

Personal accolades also await the Tottenham striker if he can maintain his return to scoring form in the knockout stage of Euro 2020.

Kane’s fourth goal in the last three games on Wednesday took him level with Gary Lineker as England’s all-time top goalscorer at major tournaments with 10.

One more goal would also be enough to take him alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick as joint-top scorer in the tournament.

Two more and he would win the Golden Boot outright for the second consecutive tournament after scoring six times at the 2018 World Cup.

“Golden Boots are a bonus and if I end up getting that it means I’ve scored one or two goals in the final, which gives our team a great chance of winning the whole thing,” said Kane. “That is the ultimate aim.”

Any chance of more goalscoring landmarks seemed a long way off as Kane trudged through the group stage without scoring and barely even threatening to do so against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic.

Kane looked so out of sorts Gareth Southgate even substituted his skipper with 15 minutes to go of the 0-0 draw against Scotland.

A gruelling 49-game club season in which he tried in vain to drag Spurs back into the Champions League seemed to have taken its toll.

Kane made it clear before the tournament began he may have to leave his boyhood club to fulfil his ambitions of winning major trophies, with Manchester City interested in making him Sergio Aguero’s successor at the Etihad.

He may look enviously upon the trophy hauls collected by international teammates Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, John Stones and Phil Foden under Pep Guardiola at City.

Obsessive goalscorer

But Sunday gives Kane a shot at a legendary status that would rank higher than anything he may go onto achieve in the club game.

“One more game and a couple more goals and he’ll have scored his way to immortality,” former England captain Alan Shearer wrote in The Athletic.

One moment in the dying embers of the Three Lions’ last-16 victory over Germany changed the course of Kane’s tournament and possibly his career.

Already leading 1-0 thanks to Sterling’s opener, Kane stooped to head home Jack Grealish’s cross to spark wild scenes of celebration at Wembley as England ended the first of a series of 55-year hexes by beating Germany in the knockout tie of a major tournament.

Even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson exclaimed “Harry Kane finally scored” as he watched on in the Downing Street gardens.

Kane then took just four minutes to open the scoring against Ukraine in the quarter-final, adding a second in the second half of a 4-0 thrashing.

Fortune was on his side in the last four as Kasper Schmeichel saved his penalty only for the ball to rebound kindly back into his path to smash home.

“He scored. That is the transformation in Harry Kane. One goal against Germany turned his tournament and leaves both he and England on the brink of creating history,” added Shearer.

“If you think that sounds too simplistic to be true, then you do not grasp the obsessional nature of the goalscorer and how his existence is ruled by a very basic metric.

“Kane has not played his way into form, he has scored his way there.”

Just 94 behind, Kane is primed to one day take Shearer’s Premier League goals record of 260.

Shearer could also have won many more trophies than his one Premier League winner’s medal at Blackburn had he joined the all-conquering Manchester United side managed by Alex Ferguson rather than heading home to Newcastle to become a club legend in 1996.

That world-record move came weeks after he won the Golden Boot at Euro 96.

Kane may also have a big decision to make in the coming weeks, but by that time he could be a hero for all of England rather than just treasured at Tottenham.

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