Harry Kane is sure the pressure of the England captaincy would never weigh him down, after Gareth Southgate handed him the armband for Thursday’s game against Slovenia.
Kane will lead the side out at Wembley for a match that could end with confirmation of a place at next year’s World Cup, but England manager Southgate has been reluctant to anoint a permanent successor to the retired Wayne Rooney.
Jordan Henderson, Joe Hart and Gary Cahill have all been handed the responsibility, while Kane took the reigns against Scotland and Spain in June.
Former England boss Roy Hodgson has suggested leadership might detract from the Tottenham striker’s main job – scoring goals and winning matches – but Kane, who netted 13 times in his last eight matches, has no such concerns.
“Having an armband on your arm doesn’t make any difference to how you play and if you score goals or not,” he said.
“It makes me very proud. Growing up as a kid you dream about playing for your country and being captain as well. Walking out at Wembley will be an amazing thing for me, personally.
“I’ll just go out there and do my best for the team, try and score goals and win the match.
“We have plenty of leaders in the team. Plenty of us will speak up and try to help each other on the pitch, be there for each other when things are tough.”
Southgate’s association with Kane goes back to their time with the under-21s and he is in no doubt about what he brings to the role.
But he has placed huge significance on sharing the load throughout the set-up, bemoaning the burden borne by Rooney during his own spell as skipper, and does not appear to be in a rush to make a long-term appointment.
“His leadership qualities are invaluable to us as a team,” said Southgate.
“I’ve known him a long time and he’s improving and maturing all the time.
“The important thing for me was, when we looked at the group of players at the start, we saw potential leaders but lads who hadn’t had experience of leading. So how did we get that happening? Different situations and opportunities being in front of people, sharing responsibilities….that’s key.
“It’s not just the match day but everything around the camp, thinking how you integrate the rest of the squad and involve other people, thinking about the moments to step forward, lead by example or have a quiet word.
“There are lots of things that make a good captain. That won’t happen overnight. It comes over a longer period of time, but we have several people who can step into the fold.”
Kane’s Tottenham team-mate Dele Alli will not be lining up behind the 24-year-old having been handed a one-match ban for raising his middle finger during last month’s victory over Slovakia.
Southgate did not quibble with that verdict but accepted there was room for the 21-year-old to improve his overall conduct. Alli is already serving a three-match Champions League suspension for a red card against Gent last season and his booking for diving against Huddersfield on Saturday, was not the first time.
“It’s quite a unique circumstance. It’s probably a fair outcome,” Southgate said of his international ban.
“He recognises his responsibilities and how things will be viewed, and how his world is changing in terms of the attention and spotlight on him. He won’t do it again, that’s for sure. It’s an experience he’ll have learned from.
“The things he does on the pitch in terms of creativity and the way he plays are a result of his character. With that character you do things immediately and think about them afterwards. These experiences will make him better going forward.”
Source: By PA Sport Staff