How could we ever doubt him?
Plenty of England fans were calling for Harry Kane to be dropped after a Euro 2020 group stage that was pedestrian to put it politely.
But after England’s captain responded with three goals in the space of 54 minutes of football to sink Germany and then Ukraine, he’s the shining light again.
Harry Kane has well and truly arrived at Euro 2020 after goals against Germany and Ukraine
Wembley was sent into raptures when Kane scored his first of the tournament in the last-16
Now it’s ‘Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’ once more as Gareth Southgate’s side prepare to take on Denmark in their Wembley semi-final.
The best strikers are never down for too long and Kane’s scoring record for his country was simply too good for him to go the entire tournament without making a contribution.
A ratio that now stands at 37 goals in 59 England appearances, including nine at tournaments, compares very favourably to many legends who have represented the Three Lions.
Take, for example, the five England greats still ahead of Kane in the all-time scoring charts and that Kane, in the next year or two, will undoubtedly surpass.
England’s all-time leading scorer Wayne Rooney required 85 matches to reach the 37 goals Kane currently has, a much slower rate of accumulation compared to the Tottenham man.
Wayne Rooney is the all-time record England goalscorer with 53 in 120 matches over 15 years
Bobby Charlton, seen scoring against Portugal at the 1966 World Cup, was the record holder for many years with his 49 goals
England’s all-time record scorers
Harry Kane is now on 37 goals for England and has taken 59 games to reach that figure. Here’s how he compares to the five players still above him in England’s all-time scorers’ chart.
1. Wayne Rooney (2003-2018) – 53 goals in 120 matches – required 85 matches to score 37 England goals (vs Montenegro, World Cup qualifier, October 2013)
2. Bobby Charlton (1958-1970) – 49 goals in 106 matches – required 65 matches to score 37 England goals (vs Yugoslavia, friendly, May 1966)
3. Gary Lineker (1984-1992) – 48 goals in 80 matches – required 60 matches to score 37 England goals (vs Poland, European Championship qualifier, October 1990)
4. Jimmy Greaves (1959-1967) – 44 goals in 57 matches – required 43 matches to score 37 England goals (vs Scotland, Home Championship, April 1965)
5. Michael Owen (1998-2008) – 40 goals in 89 matches – required 82 matches to score 37 England goals (vs Estonia, European Championship qualifier, June 2007)
Sir Bobby Charlton, whose return of 49 England goals set the gold standard for so long, needed 65 games, while 48-goal Gary Lineker required 65.
Michael Owen, whose total of 40 is now very much within Kane’s striking range, needed 82 matches to rack up 37.
Indeed, it is only another Tottenham hero, Jimmy Greaves, who reached Kane’s present 37 goal tally in fewer games. Just 43 matches to be precise, which is a seriously impressive rate.
So Kane, who turns 28 on the 28th of this month, is firmly on track to not only surpass Rooney’s record but establish a new best that may never be beaten.
Only Jimmy Greaves (left), seen scoring against Wales in 1960, has accumulated goals at a faster rate than Harry Kane
Another record now within Kane’s sights is the 10 tournament goals scored by Gary Lineker
Michael Owen’s 40-goal tally for England is now very much within Kane’s sights
Not only that, but Kane is now just one goal behind Lineker’s record of 10 tournament goals and he’ll certainly be aiming to match or overtake that figure against the Danes.
Kane’s six goals at the 2018 World Cup earned him the Golden Boot but the sceptics are never satisfied. Three were penalties, they will say, or three came against a Panama side embarrassingly out of their depth.
Where was Kane when it really mattered in the semi-final against Croatia? He certainly cut an isolated and frustrated figure that night but his goals over the last week have certainly atoned.
And given that Kane’s list of victims for England has included Germany, France, Colombia, Croatia (in the 2018-19 Nations League) and Poland, any flat track bully notions are unfair.
A delighted Kane celebrates scoring his first England goal, on his 2015 debut against Lithuania
Kane nets against France in a friendly match played in Paris in the summer of 2017
Who Kane has scored against for England
4 – Bulgaria, Montenegro
3 – Panama
2 – Ukraine, Kosovo, Czech Republic, Tunisia, Malta, France, Germany, Lithuania
1 – Poland, Albania, Croatia, Colombia, Nigeria, Slovenia, Scotland, Turkey, Switzerland, San Marino
The same accusations were flung at Rooney, who, like Kane, certainly filled his boots against minnows like San Marino, Andorra, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
But it’s hardly the players’ fault that international football has become all-embracing and qualifying tournaments in particular are an opportunity for world class forwards to bolster international tallies.
Kane netted 12 times in Euro 2020 qualifying, including four against both Montenegro and Bulgaria home and away, but he can hardly be blamed for being too good.
Everything is relative as well. Charlton’s first England hat-trick came in an 8-1 win over the United States in 1959, another came in a 9-0 beating of Luxembourg in 1960 and another in an 8-0 thumping of Mexico in 1961. Another Treble came in an 8-1 win over Switzerland in 1963.
Nations that were once whipping boys in many cases improve considerably over time and, well, you can only score against the opponents in front of you.
Manager Gareth Southgate presents Kane with the World Cup Golden Boot prize in 2018
Kane converts from the penalty spot in England’s last-16 win over Colombia in the World Cup
The pattern of Kane’s England goals was a reason why we should never have doubted him and it rings true for many strikers.
After scoring on his debut against Lithuania in March 2015, England goals came in no more than a trickle for Kane for two years. Then, between June 2017 and Colombia at the 2018 World Cup, he scored 14 in 10 games.
A short lull followed, then between November 2018 and November 2019 he scored 13 times in 11 outings. Now, it has to be hoped, Kane has timed his latest goal glut with English glory at the Euros.
It was certainly the same for Alan Shearer, who went 12 without scoring prior to Euro 96 and was widely written off before finishing as the tournament’s top scorer with five.
Alan Shearer went through a lengthy goal drought for England but came good at Euro ’96
Kane’s tumbling header to make it 2-0 against Germany has sparked his tournament to life
Rooney went through lean spells for England – after bursting onto the scene at Euro 2004, he scored just twice in the next two years – but there were prolific patches in which he couldn’t stop scoring.
As his record suggests, Lineker was a master of timing things right for the major tournaments. Six at the 1986 World Cup won him the Golden Boot and was followed by four at Italia ’90.
All these England legends will see Kane zoom past them in the coming months. Assuming he stays fit, Kane should remain in the goals during a gentle autumn of World Cup qualifiers that includes two meetings with Andorra, a home game with Albania and a trip to San Marino.
You’d expect Kane to be well into the 40s by the time of the Qatar World Cup next year and with potentially another five or more years of international football ahead of him, a final tally of 60 or even 70 England goals shouldn’t be beyond him.
And we know better than to doubt him.