One of the most incomprehensible sights of England’s incomprehensible Euro 2016 campaign was watching Harry Kane routinely deliver corners, extremely badly, despite being the team’s best striker, because Roy Hodgson had somehow convinced himself that he was the team’s best corner taker.
“He’s the best striker of the ball we have,” said Hodgson. “He’s the one who gives us the best delivery.”
You can judge for yourself how successful that theory was.
But still, despite Kane, like every other member of that squad, seemingly forgetting how to play football as England surrendered to Iceland in the second round, there is absolutely no doubt that the Tottenham striker is a world-class talent, having enjoyed four consecutive phenomenal seasons, netting 41 goals in 48 appearances during the campaign just ended.
He is also clearly a player that commands the respects of his teammates and has never put a foot wrong in interviews. Thus, as one of the guaranteed starters for England in the coming World Cup, it’s no surprise that manager Gareth Southgate has announced that Kane will be his captain at the tournament.
Spurs team-mate Eric Dier and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson have also captained England recently, but Kane is the one who has got the nod.
Southgate informed the squad during a meeting at St George’s Park on Monday night, saying:
“Harry has some outstanding personal qualities. He is a meticulous professional and one of the most important things for a captain is that they set the standard every day.
“He has belief and high standards and it is a great message for the team to have a captain who has shown that it is possible to be one of the best in the world over a consistent period of time and that has been his drive.
“My feeling is that over the last 18 months in the camps that he’s been with us he has shown that he has got the desire to take that into a team environment and he recognises the importance of bringing others with him.”
Despite his miserable Euro 2016 campaign, Kane has scored 12 goals in 23 England appearances; he first captained England in their 2018 World Cup qualifier with Scotland at Hampden Park, scoring an added-time equaliser to rescue a 2–2 draw.
Kane has spoken in the past of his willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team, telling ShortList in 2016 that, should England’s three keepers be injured, he would be willing to don the gloves.
“I’d put my hand up for it!” he said, although he added, “I don’t know if they’d let me after my performance in the Europa League!”
Could we see captain Kane in goal, leading us to penalty shoot-out glory in Russia? We shall soon find out.