England captain Harry Kane hopes he breaks his country’s goal-scoring record in front of a full stadium with friends and family in attendance, but admits the situation is out of his control with two of the next three fixtures played with crowd restrictions.
Kane is currently England’s joint-second all-time scorer with 49 goals in 69 matches, alongside Sir Bobby Charlton, who scored 49 in 106 games. It’s still four goals shy of Wayne Rooney’s 53 in 120 matches, but Kane could move ahead of the former Manchester United striker if he scores freely in upcoming Nations League fixtures away to Hungary and Germany and at home against Italy and Hungary.
Saturday’s game against Hungary is supposed to be played without supporters after the national team was punished for racist abuse by their fans during Euro 2020, although there is expected to be more than 30,000 in the Puskas Arena as Uefa rules state that under 14s — plus one adult for every 10 children — can attend for free during stadium bans.
England will then travel to Germany for Tuesday’s game — played in front of a normal crowd — before returning for two games at Wolves’s Molineux Stadium, the first of which, against Italy, is behind-closed-doors as punishment for the Wembley chaos at the Euro 2020 final last summer. Again, the English Football Association is inviting some under 14s, although only 2,000-3,000 are expected to be there due to logistics.
Should Kane, 28, overtake Rooney’s record at Molineux it will be in a far more reserved environment than if he were to do so at a packed Wembley.
“When it comes to breaking records, you would love to have every situation in the perfect scenario with your friends and family, sometimes you are lucky it works out that way,” Kane said.
“My first thought is winning the games. I would love my friends and family, a full crowd at home, that would be a perfect situation but in football you can’t control everything.
Kane said that becoming England’s highest ever goal-scorer “would be an incredible achievement”.
England’s top scorers
- Wayne Rooney: 53 goals, 120 caps
- Harry Kane: 49 goals, 69 caps
- Bobby Charlton: 49 goals, 106 caps
- Gary Lineker: 48 goals, 80 caps
- Jimmy Greaves: 44 goals, 57 caps
- Michael Owen: 40 goals, 89 caps
- Nat Lofthouse: 30 goals, 33 caps
He added: “I was lucky enough to be playing on the pitch and scored when Wayne broke the record, saw how much it meant to him and his family. I didn’t think that far ahead but to be where I am now, it would be an incredible achievement, when you are among the names of Rooney and [Gary] Lineker and Charlton, you are doing something right. I feel if I am doing my best for the team then the goals will come.”
England manager Gareth Southgate believes his team will benefit from Kane being relatively free from the spotlight compared to last summer when he was preparing for and playing in the European Championship while his Tottenham future remained uncertain. Manchester City attempted to sign Kane and he made clear his desire to move but the transfer did not happen.
In contrast, Spurs have just qualified for the Champions League and Kane is thought to be open to extending his contract, which expires in two years’ time.
“He seems very happy, his football is good,” Southgate said. “They have qualified for the Champions League as well so when you’re a player you want to be involved in the biggest possible matches. I think whenever a player is settled and happy it makes a huge difference to the way they play.”
Kane, however, is under no illusions that his place in the England team is guaranteed. Tammy Abraham had a sensational season at Roma, scoring 29 goals in 57 games and winning the Europa Conference League following a £34million transfer from Chelsea last summer.
Jarrod Bowen, meanwhile, received his first England call-up and is likely to make his national team debut after he scored 18 times to help West Ham secure European football next season.
“Tammy and Jarrod have had great seasons for their clubs,” Kane said. “For the country it is great, for me it is great to have that competition, that is what drives you to your limit. There is always someone who is trying to take my spot, in the Tottenham team, in the England team.”