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Published 23 March 2023 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Gareth Southgate's tribute to 'brilliant' Harry Kane

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers

Three Lions boss talks about Harry Kane's latest achievement as he becomes England's record goalscorer

England manager Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to his captain and the country’s new record goalscorer Harry Kane.

The Three Lions skipper scored the 54th goal of his senior career to fire England to a 2-1 win over Italy on Thursday night, as Southgate’s side made a winning start to their EURO 2024 qualifying campaign.

And Southgate couldn’t hide his admiration for Kane on the back of his latest achievement and also an impressive display on the night in Naples.

"His overall performance tonight was outstanding,” said Southgate

“I thought he really dominated the centre-backs and his link play was really good.

"You could see right from the beginning of the game he was really on it.

"To break the record in the way that he did, given the recent history, is an indication of his strength of character and mentality.”
Harry Kane and his England teammates celebrate their win and the captain's achievement after the game
Harry Kane and his England teammates celebrate their win and the captain's achievement after the game
Southgate and Kane’s relationship stretches back to 2013, when they worked together as MU21s head coach and a young striker eager to impress and improve.

Within two years, Kane had progressed through to the senior set-up and scored his first goal just less than eight years ago against Lithuania in March 2015.

Kane’s importance to the national team was then underlined when he became Southgate’s captain ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a competition where he won the Golden Boot award.

"I couldn't be happier for him and his family, they're lovely people and he's a brilliant professional,” said Southgate.

"To do it as quickly as he has as well - there's a lot of his career still to go - it's an incredible achievement.

"So huge credit to him and the players gave him a brilliant reception afterwards and I think that was a response to both the record and what he's just had to recover from as well.”

Speaking about the team's performance, Southgate added: "We showed two sides, without a doubt. We had great control from the back in the first half, and whenever we broke through that first line of pressure we looked really dangerous.

"We should've had the game buried and been 3-0 at half time, and if you start any half of football the way we did in the second half you're going to be in trouble and we conceded a really poor goal with several errors in the lead up to it.

"And then of course the emotion of the whole evening changes and you're giving the crowd a lift, you're giving the opposition a lift and you've got to deal with the momentum and then going down to ten men.

"In the end, they can reference something that they've had to grind a result away from home which is hugely important as it's a massive result but I prefer more of the first half than the second."