Harry Kane was named captain of England for the upcoming World Cup in Russia, and the decision is one that hasn’t necessarily been openly accepted by all the supporters. There is no doubt that the Spurs man is arguably going to be The Three Lions’ best hope in the tournament, but he isn’t exactly seen as leader-material. As an individual, he is undoubtedly brilliant, fresh off a Premier League campaign that he ended with 30 goals, his best tally till date. At the age of just 24, the sky well and truly is the limit for the striker. This is also the first real tournament where he will be shouldering the bulk of the responsibility for his country. He is following in the footsteps of Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and, most recently, Wayne Rooney. Kane failed to score a single goal in the European Championships in 2016, as England crashed out disappointingly to Iceland in the round of 16.
There is no doubt that he is the right man to lead the line for England, but is he necessarily the right man to lead them out onto the pitch? If we take a look at the other options, it’s not like Gareth Southgate is spoiled for choice. He does have Jordan Henderson and Gary Cahill, who are club captains at Liverpool and Chelsea, respectively. Cahill is by far the most experienced at the international level, being the only player in the 23-man squad to gain over 50 caps for his country. However, neither is coming off the back of standout seasons, and do not exert the same level of authority in the England dressing room. In fact, unless they perform, they very well could find themselves on the bench as well. The other most likely option would probably be Ashley Young, the Manchester United man expected to take up the left-wing back role after having done so successfully at Old Trafford last season.
Kane is the biggest superstar England has, and Southgate’s decision to make him the skipper is like a vote of confidence. It will mean added pressure, but the Totten ham player will really feel like the team is working around him. If England is to do well and go far in the tournament, their number 9 will have to score freely.
In the past, the likes of Shearer and Rooney have captained their national teams fairly well and it hasn’t affected their goal returns too much. Kane has no experience in this regard whatsoever, but this is probably the best place to start.
England has been pitted against Panama, Tunisia and Belgium in the group stage, and should be good enough to get through comfortably. They will face either Colombia or Poland in the round of 16 and if they get through that obstacle, will be exposed to the real big boys.
Kane proved he can perform against the best in the world this season, scoring 7 goals in the Champions League including strikes against Borussia Dortmund and Juventus. England no longer has their golden generation from the past decade, and will depend heavily on a few individuals to deliver. Kane is at the top of that list, and will be looking to make a huge impact not just as a goals corer himself, but also as a leader and motivator for the rest of the team.
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