In a tournament full of records at Qatar 2022, another prestigious one might fall when England faces off with France, in a do-or-die quarter-final on the “Al Bayt” Stadium in Al Khor.
Being the top goal scorer of a country is undoubtedly a huge honour and especially so for England, a team priding itself on inventing football and taking it up a notch. Surprisingly, no player has scored more than 53 goals for the England football team, with only two players in history – Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane – passing the 50-goal milestone for England.
Now, Rooney’s record, set between 2003 and 2018, could be broken, as the 53-goal tally is only one goal higher than Harry Kane’s one, with the Tottenham striker averaging 0.66 goals per game since he earned his first cap in 2015. In only 79 matches for England, Kane has scored 52 goals, a superb ratio for a superb striker.
Not only Kane has become the captain of this England squad, he is also the second top scorer in history for the “Three Lions”, with his seven goals at Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 being only bettered by Gary Lineker, the legendary striker that scored 10 times at Mexico 1986 and Italy 1990 in only 12 games.
But Kane is a true captain and a household name in England, albeit his early career did not announce such a star-studded future, one that saw him graduate from the Young Player of the Year at second-league team Milwall in 2012 to three Golden Boots in the Premier League, the award won by the top goal scorer of the competition, a number beaten only by legendary France striker Thierry Henry.
“I think everyone thinks he’s a fantastic player and Tottenham is so lucky to have him because he’s the player, the person and the Tottenham boy. All this together makes him really a special player for us that probably wouldn’t be so special playing for another team. He’s really special for us, he’s really special for Tottenham,” said his former manager at Tottenham, Jose Mourinho.
Technically, Kane is a one-man club, having always been under contract with Tottenham, despite his four loans at Leyton Orient, Milwall, Norwich City and Leicester City, which helped him develop both as a player and as a person.
Cutting his teeth in the League One and Championship, dropping down on the English football pyramid, taught Kane the important lessons of humility and hard work, despite his chances as a kid were limited.
He started football in Arsenal’s academy, but was cut off due to being “a bit too chubby and not very athletic”. Arsenal’s loss was Tottenham’s wins, as the Gunners’ big rivals across the city snatched Kane up and molded him in the player he became.
But despite that, Kane was not deterred. He always had a chip on his shoulder and strived to be the best, even when he was loaned to several clubs and his career looked over, despite his potential of scoring goals.
Yet he is a man of the people and this is why he is so revered and loved in England, proving his worth time and time again both on and off the pitch. He never forgot about the time when he was playing in the third league for Leyton Orient and struck a strong relationship with the team and the fanbase.
And for the last three seasons, Kane became the sponsor of the shirt for the team he played his first professional game for, as he donated the front-of-shirt space to the mental health support line Shout.
“I was born only a couple of miles from Orient’s stadium and am really happy to give back to the club that gave me my first professional start. I am pleased to welcome Shout to this partnership. Covid has presented many challenges, and these have affected the mental health and wellbeing of many people,” said Kane.
“Shout provide a vital helpline and resources to the public, helping to positively improve mental health and wellbeing. The special charities I have chosen for the front of shirts all mean a lot to me, and I hope this platform will help them receive the exposure and support they need,” added the striker.
The “Three Lions” striker has been a mainstay for England, since making his debut in 2015, being a key cog of the team that went to the semi-finals at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and in the final at UEFA EURO 2020 and will be definitely remembered as an all-time great when he retires.
Surely, with another campaign under his belt in 2026 at the FIFA World Cup, he has the chance to write history, breaking Lineker’s record, after being on the cusp of beating Rooney as the all-time top scorer for England.
Yet Kane remains modest and always puts the team he captains first.
“The main aim is to win the tournament and bring the trophy home and if I get the golden boot along the way then that would be incredible. The golden boot is not the main thing I’m going for, but if I end up with the golden boot then it’ll be good for the team,” said Kane before the start of Qatar 2022.
Now, with England back again in the quarter-finals, Kane, who was the top scorer at Russia 2018, with six goals, sets up a showdown with France, with a chance to tie Rooney’s record. But it’s not the Golden Boot that Kane wants, it’s the title. The man with the golden heart can write history once again.