Friday 08 April 2022, 08:00

England immortality beckons for Kane in Qatar

  • Harry Kane won the adidas Golden Boot at the last FIFA World Cup

  • Bookmakers make him favourite to repeat that feat at Qatar 2022

  • The Spurs striker is also closing in on England’s all-time scoring record

Harry Kane has already written his name in FIFA World Cup™ history. By scoring six times at Russia 2018, the England captain earned himself the tournament’s adidas Golden Boot and, in doing so, followed in feted footsteps of men like Ronaldo, Gerd Muller and Eusebio.

Kane, 28, is also already assured of his place as a Three Lions legend. No-one in the history of England’s national team has scored more often in competitive fixtures, and his overall record of 49 from 69 appearances stands comparison with anyone in modern-day international football.

England records already claimed

  • Most competitive goals (43)

  • Most goals at major tournaments (10 - joint record, shared with Gary Lineker)

  • Most goals in a calendar year (12 - joint record, shared with George Hilsdon and Dixie Dean)

However, his spectacular current form for Tottenham Hotspur is leading to discussion about feats that would make his erstwhile achievements pale in comparison.

Could, for example, Kane become the first player in history to top the scoring charts at separate FIFA World Cups? Bookmakers make him favourite to do just that, and his Europe-leading record of 12 goals in eight appearances during qualifying – one every 49 minutes – underlines why.

Harry Kane of England replaces Wayne Rooney of England during the EURO 2016 Qualifier between England and Lithuania at Wembley Stadium on March 27, 2015.

Rooney’s record within touching distance

The likes of Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo will also have their eyes on Qatar 2022’s Golden Boot, of course, and Kane’s chances of an unprecedented double may rest on whether England can go the distance. But another historic achievement – the all-time Three Lions scoring record – now looks to be a mere formality.

Having recently moved past Gary Lineker (48) to join the great Bobby Charlton on 49 England goals, Kane is now just four away from equalling Wayne Rooney’s benchmark of 53. The current holder certainly knows that his record won’t last for much longer, and has been full of praise for the man set to eclipse him.

“Harry’s a fantastic player and goalscorer,” he said. “If I were building a team, he’d be the one I’d start with. Harry Kane: there’s my No9, then I’d build the rest around him.

“Records are great of course but they’re there to be broken. When Harry does break it, he deserves all the praise and credit that he gets because it’s a great honour to hold that record. “For him and for the manager Gareth Southgate, I also think he should try to get that record before the World Cup so it doesn’t become a distraction.”

Harry Kane of England celebrates after during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between England and Andorra.

Final fantasy

Provided he stays fit, Kane will have six UEFA Nations League fixtures – against Germany, Hungary and Italy – to match and potentially surpass Rooney before heading to Qatar. But with England’s clashes against Hungary in Budapest and Italy at Wembley set to be played in front of empty stadiums due to UEFA sanctions, there are fears that this landmark occasion could fall a little flat.

“It would be hugely unfortunate [if the record was broken in an empty stadium],” Southgate admitted recently. “The games behind closed doors, frankly we have seen and had enough of them, but for both countries it is a punishment because our fans and their fans weren’t able to control themselves. That’s an embarrassment for us, but it is the situation we have got and it would be particularly sad if that was the game where Harry broke the record.

“I don’t think he will worry where he is playing. But it would be lovely if it was at Wembley. And if it was in the World Cup final, it would be absolutely fine!”

That is the dream. And if he could grab a record-breaking, Golden Boot-winning strike to fire England to their first global title in 56 years, Kane would make the transition from legend to World Cup immortal – and national saint.