Monday, January 30, 2023

England captain Harry Kane makes Golden Boot claim as World Cup opener beckons

England captain Harry Kane makes Golden Boot claim as World Cup opener beckons

England’s 26-man squad finally arrived in Qatar last night and were greeted warmly in front of the team hotel they hope to reside in until the FIFA World Cup final on December 18.

Their first training session is scheduled for Wednesday ahead of next week’s opening match against Iran, with Harry Kane eager to continue where he left off in Russia at the previous World Cup.

Kane’s six goals in 2018 were enough to earn him the Golden Boot as the tournament’s leading scorer, and he believes that a similar performance in the coming weeks would be beneficial for England.

“Winning the Golden Boot is not the main thing I’m going for,” he said. “But I know if I do end up with the Golden Boot, it will be good for the team … a good bonus. I’m excited, a World Cup is a special occasion.

“I think for most professionals it is the biggest tournament you can play in as a player, and I have been lucky enough to do one and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

As in Russia, England fans are not expected to travel in large numbers to the games themselves. However, according to Kane, the players will be monitoring social media to see how their exploits are received at home.

“It’s going to be massive,” he told the FA’s Lions’ Den YouTube channel. “I remember when we were out in Russia in our own little bubble. We saw all the videos from back home going crazy, it makes a big difference, it motivates us to be successful.

“We want to make the fans proud and happy. Of course, there will be some in the stadiums, we always have great support, but most will be at home and we just want to make them proud.”

Kane possesses, at the club level, the type of form that could enable him to mount a challenge for the Golden Boot. Tottenham’s talisman has scored 12 goals in his first 15 games, including one in Saturday’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Leeds United. 

While Manchester City forward Erling Haaland has dominated the headlines on the goal-scoring front, Tottenham’s talisman has quietly gone about his business, scoring one goal in the dramatic 4-3 victory over Leeds United.

In 2018, Kane’s exploits propelled England to a thrilling semi-final against Croatia, which the Three Lions ultimately lost in extra time. Gareth Southgate and co. went one better at Euro 2020, reaching the final before losing on penalties to Italy.

Iran, England’s first group-stage opponent, enters the World Cup in Qatar in fine form. Unlike many other teams, they organized a pre-tournament friendly against Nicaragua, which they won 1-0 last week, and their current three-match unbeaten streak includes victories over Uruguay and Senegal.

England captain Harry Kane makes Golden Boot claim as World Cup opener beckons

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