Harry Kane: The making of an England captain

Harry Kane: The making of an England captain

July 11, 2021

He’s one of our own: the England captain at St George’s Park

It was after the group stage of Euro 2020 that a close friend, one of those millions of people who don’t think of football as a religion but who has loved every second of this England team’s nerve-jangling journey to Sunday’s final against Italy, asked a question that had presumably been bugging an awful lot of others. Why, she wanted to know, does everyone love Harry Kane? She’d watched all three group games, against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic, gauged the emotional way England fans felt about their captain, listened to how commentators and pundits raved about the non-scoring centre-forward, and was baffled. As far as she could tell, she said, he just “lumbers about”.

I didn’t want to be seen as mansplaining Harry Kane, and the winner of this season’s Premier League Golden Boot had, it is true, not looked at his sharpest in those group games, so I opted for the most heartfelt explanation available – it might look like that, I offered, but he’s a once-in-a-generation striker, I almost can’t believe he plays for us.

Three games, four goals and a stirring performance against Denmark later, England’s number nine had done all the “Kanesplaining” necessary on the pitch, adding to the six goals he scored in the 2018 World Cup and drawing level with Gary Lineker as top England goalscorer in major tournaments. Lineker tweeted: “Might as well enjoy this while it lasts before the Rolls-Royce of strikers, @HKane overtakes the old banger. Go smash it, Harry.”

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