Captain Harry Kane able to lead Three Lions from the front at 2018 World Cup after difficult journey
PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 June 2018
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Tottenham striker can be relied upon for goals on the world stage after negotiating a long and winding career path to the very top
When Harry Kane leads England out for their Group G World Cup opener against Tunisia on Monday June 18 it will be a proud moment for everyone associated with the Londoner.
It has been a long road for the 24-year-old, but for this summer’s tournament he will captain his country after Gareth Southgate placed his trust in his leadership skills last month.
The England boss had a choice between Kane, his Spurs club-mate Eric Dier and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, and went with the Tottenham Hotspur forward and so far has not been let down.
Kane netted the winner during the 2-1 friendly victory over Nigeria at Wembley before the squad left for Russia, which leaves the Walthamstow-born striker with an excellent record of 13 goals in 24 appearances for his country – but it has been no easy ride for the Spurs academy graduate.
There were not many who believed the forward would make it in the first team at Tottenham when he spent almost three seasons away on loan.
But spells in League One with Leyton Orient and the Championship at Millwall hardened the fresh-faced teenager.
He joined the London clubs when they were battling relegation and finished both the 2010/11 campaign at the O’s, and the 2011/12 season in the Lions Den, having helped them move well clear of the drop zone in their respective divisions.
After two good, solid years of development, the next step for Kane was to play in the top flight and he got his wish with a loan move to Norwich City in August 2012, but it didn’t go to plan.
The forward suffered a broken metatarsal in his second appearance for the Canaries in September that year and didn’t play again until December.
Despite returning to fitness, his time at Carrow Road soon ended and so did his period as a Premier League player – for the time being at least.
Kane went on loan to Leicester City in February 2013 to help with their promotion bid and finished with disappointment after they lost in the Championship play-off semi-final.
After a stop-start campaign, there were doubts about whether the England youth ace could break into Tottenham’s starting line-up heading into the 2013/14 term.
In the end, it took a managerial sacking and some faith from one of his old mentors to show everyone what he could do at Spurs.
On December 16, 2013 Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed by chairman Daniel Levy and Tim Sherwood, Tottenham’s Technical co-ordinator, was placed in charge initially on a caretaker basis and then on an 18-month contract.
Kane had featured six times under the Portuguese manager in the early part of the 2013/14 campaign, but saw his opportunities increase once one of his former youth-team coaches took the reins.
The forward ended the season by scoring in three consecutive Premier League fixtures and after showing some f his promise, his potential was finally realised by new head coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Regular goals from Kane in the Europa League plus the Capital One Cup forced him into the plans of the Argentinean in the Premier League and a 90th-minute winner away to Aston Villa on November 2, 2014 changed everything.
Pochettino had been under a bit of pressure with Tottenham not beginning the new term well, but he backed the England youngster over the experienced Emmanuel Adebayor and was rewarded.
Kane’s winner at Villa was his ninth goal of the season and he would go on to finish with 31 for Spurs in all competitions, which included braces in victories over Chelsea and Arsenal.
The career of the Chingford boy had taken off and it was the start of an upward journey which has now reached a new high – leading his country out at a World Cup.
Despite troubles in August and with injuries, Kane has scored 30 goals or more in three of the last four campaigns to firmly put his name in the conversation when talking about the world’s best forwards.
Stunning displays this season against the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus have only reaffirmed the incredible ability of the number nine.
And after disappointment at the Euro 2016 finals, he will be desperate to make amends in Russia and make the country proud of their national team.
“It’s been tough because for the last 50 years we haven’t won anything,” Kane told Press Association Sport. “But we’re our own team.
“We have our own identity and we’ve got to enjoy the occasion. We can’t wait to get out there and get started.”
Kane will aim to lead from the front for England, and if he can in terms of goals and his overall play, almost anything could be possible in Russia.