Harry Kane can’t wait for an emotional reunion with his young family — and plans to bring a Euro 2020 winners’ medal along to show the sacrifices of being separated so long were worthwhile.
Kane will become only the second England captain after Bobby Moore to lift a major trophy if Gareth Southgate’s men defeat Italy at Wembley.
The 27-year-old admits it’s been tough not to see wife Katie and their three children Ivy (4), Vivienne (2) and Louis (seven months) for more than a month because of strict Covid bubbles and is desperate to end the tournament on a massive high.
Harry Kane wants to bring a winners’ medal home to his wife Katie and their three children Ivy (4), Vivienne (2) and Louis (seven months)
Kane admits that it’s been difficult for him to be separated from his family for a lengthy period
‘My oldest is four-and-a-half, I don’t think she understands the magnitude of the final, she is still a little bit young,’ said England’s star striker. ‘First and foremost she wants me to come home, but if football comes home we’ll all be delighted!
‘Of course, it has been tough. It’s never easy when you are away from home.
‘Obviously it has been a long time, which is what we wanted from a football point of view, but only seeing them on FaceTime and not being able to hug my wife after games is difficult. But we are professionals, it is part of the job and situation we are in. We want to make it all worth it by winning the final.’
Despite his status as a world-class player, Kane is still hunting the first major trophy of his career having lost in three cup finals with Tottenham. He was ineffective in the 2019 Champions League final against Liverpool and in this year’s Carabao Cup defeat by Manchester City having been rushed back for those games after injury.
However, the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner goes into Sunday night’s showpiece in much better shape having recovered from a slow start to the Euros by scoring against Germany, Ukraine (2) and Denmark in consecutive games.
‘I picked up injuries before so my focus was actually on getting fit maybe more than the finals themselves,’ he conceded. ‘It’s nice to be in this final free in the mind, coming off scoring for a few games in a row as well. As a striker that’s great to have. I feel confident and the team is in a good place and have real self-belief.
‘We feel we can beat any team we play. It’s just about going out there and executing it on what will be the biggest stage under the biggest pressure.
‘We have done that amazingly so far in this tournament. When the pressure has been on, we’ve really stepped up to the mark. But of course it’s a major final, it’s not going to just happen easily.
The England captain spoke of the belief that his team are capable of beating any opponent
‘It’s about doing what we’ve learned over the last four or five years as a group, being calm in moments and ruthless in moments as well. That is what we need against Italy.’
An England win and another Kane goal to join Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick as the tournament’s leading scorer will put him in the conversation with Wayne Rooney, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer as the country’s greatest-ever striker. He could also join 1966 hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst as the only Englishman to have netted a winning goal in a major final.
‘As a striker, of course you dream of being the one who scores the goal that wins a major game. I was fortunate enough to do that in the semi-final against Denmark but obviously if it’s not me who scores, it doesn’t matter as long as we win. Sir Geoff has an amazing moment in history, the moment everyone looks back on. These occasions are there to grab and take. You have opportunities to create your own history and that’s the exciting part of it.’
Giorgio Chiellini, who will captain Italy on Sunday night, once mocked Kane’s Spurs for ‘never arriving’ after Juventus had beaten them in the Champions League. The England striker remembers the jibe but diplomatically refused to light the touchpaper even further.
Kane is looking to replicate Sir Geoff Hurst by scoring the winning goal in a major final
‘My focus isn’t on him, or that. The battle isn’t just me v Chiellini. He is a respected footballer, a fantastic player, so I am looking forward to another battle. You want to play against the best defenders in the world and the two centre-halves (Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci) are definitely that. I am looking forward to the challenge.’
Shearer left Blackburn for Newcastle for a world-record £15million after he top-scored at Euro 96. There is speculation about Kane’s club future with Manchester City and Manchester United interested, but for now pleasing the England fans is uppermost in his mind.
‘The fans have been a key part of this. We are not just representing ourselves, we are representing the country and we want them to look at us and be proud of what we are doing on and off the pitch,’ he said. ‘We had that in Russia, we felt like we reconnected with our fans and this tournament was about going one step further and trying to win it.
Kane stressed he is focusing on the game as a whole rather than defender Giorgio Chiellini
‘To be doing it at home, at Wembley, and having our supporters there where we can see the joy on their faces has been truly special.
‘We know they will be right behind us across the whole country. It makes us proud to bring happiness to people especially after a tough couple of years.
‘To know we are doing that is the most important thing and we want to bring them one more good night of good memories.’
One of Kane’s duties as captain will be to say a few words in the England huddle as they leave the dressing room. ‘The team is ready at that stage so it’s just little reminders,’ he says. ‘A few words before we head out into the biggest game of our careers.
‘Italy are on a long unbeaten run, they are great defensively and clinical at the other end as well. We have worked tactically on how to approach the game, seen their strengths and weaknesses. We have full belief in ourselves.’
Kane added that it has been ‘truly special’ to see the joy on the faces of supporters at Wembley