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

‘I have never seen a finisher like him’…Team-mates discuss England’s all-time record goalscorer Harry Kane

Written by:

Frank Smith

Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson discuss what makes Harry Kane so special as the striker surpasses Wayne Rooney as England's all-time record goalscorer

As England’s all-time leading goalscorer, Harry Kane’s record speaks for itself. But just what is it like to play alongside, against and under the striker?

‘I can’t speak highly enough about him’ and ‘I have never seen a finisher like him’ were just two of the comments made by Kane’s England colleagues in recent months.

The 29 year old joined Wayne Rooney as England’s record goalscorer during England’s 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-final defeat to France when he scored his 53rd goal for the Three Lions.

And on Thursday night Kane became England’s all-time record goalscorer in his own right when he made it 54 goals in 81 appearances for his country's senior team against Italy.

With it seemingly only a matter of time before Kane broke the record, we caught up with a number of his England team-mates ahead of the record-breaking moment to discuss what makes him so special.

Harry Maguire and Jordan Pickford were full of praise for Harry Kane
Harry Maguire and Jordan Pickford were full of praise for Harry Kane

Harry Maguire has been England team-mates and friends with the striker since the defender came into the senior set-up in 2017.

Maguire said: “First and foremost, Harry is a great person and a great leader. He is great to have in the dressing room and around the team, both on and off the field, which is a massively important thing.

“For someone who has such an amazing goalscoring record, he is not selfish at all on the pitch or off the pitch. That is another big, big attribute for me. 

“Obviously on top of that, he's an amazing footballer. He is a great finisher. You play five-a-sides in training and he is the top goalscorer every time you play it. That's the type of player he is. 

“He is an amazing footballer, an amazing finisher and a pure goalscorer.”

Maguire has also played against Kane for more than six years in the Premier League, initially for Hull City, then Leicester City and now as captain of Manchester United.

Jordan Pickford and Harry Kane celebrating during EURO 2020
Jordan Pickford and Harry Kane celebrating during EURO 2020

The defender continued: “It is so hard to play up against him. I think he has proven that time after time in the Premier League – he scores goals. 

“I have obviously played against H a lot and I know what he's wanting to do and the things that are his big attributes so I can try to nullify them. But the thing is with Harry, you can't give him a yard, you can't give him half a yard. You've got to be on your game fully because if you don’t, it ends up in the back of the net. 

“Putting the ball in the back of the net is the hardest thing to do in football and he does it very well and that's why he's so highly respected.”

One of the men who face the unenviable task of trying to stop Kane’s shots on a regular basis is England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Kane was already in the England senior team set-up when Pickford received his first call-up in October 2016 and the pair have struck up a great friendship since.

“Harry is a good mate of mine and is one of the best strikers in the world,” Pickford said.

“When you are in training with him, you rarely save a shot because of the quality he has. If he has one chance, he is going to take it.”

Harry Kane has excelled for England at major tournaments during his career
Harry Kane has excelled for England at major tournaments during his career

So what makes Kane different to the other strikers Pickford faces in training for club and country?

Pickford said: “He has that eye for goal. He will pick his spot and he will commit to that spot. Nine times out of ten you can’t get there as a goalkeeper. It is the pace, the whip and the way he finishes the ball is incredible, with both feet.

“If a defender is standing half a yard off Harry, then as a goalkeeper you know you are in trouble because he will find that gap and he will commit to his shot.

“I have never seen a finisher like him.”

As well as being England’s record goalscorer, Kane has also been his country’s captain during the last three major tournaments.

Kane first captained his country in 2017 against Scotland before being made permanent skipper in the lead-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The meticulous professional was on 12 goals from 23 appearances when he was first made permanent captain and his performance levels have remained exceptionally high ever since.

Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane are two of the leaders in the England dressing room
Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane are two of the leaders in the England dressing room

Kane is supported by several club captains in the dressing room, including by Champions League and Premier League-winning skipper Jordan Henderson

Henderson said: “Harry is a very different leader to me but the good thing he does is that he leads by example. 

“On the pitch, his record and his goals speak for themselves and I’m sure if you ask any of the lads, they will tell you he has been a really good captain for this team. 

“I can’t speak highly enough about him. He is a fantastic player and a huge player we will need if we want to be successful in the future. Hopefully he can stay fit and keep scoring his goals.”

On Kane’s leadership style, Pickford added: “Harry is very open. Luckily enough I came in with him but when he is around new lads who come into the squad for the first time, he talks to them and fulfils that leadership role. 

“On the training pitch, with the standards he sets for himself, it shows his leadership qualities and what it takes to be captain of England and to lead us out. 

“He shows his leaderships qualities on the pitch, off the pitch and just generally around the place. He is brilliant.”

The striker’s route to the top was far from easy, having been released by Arsenal as a kid, and you can read all about Kane’s grassroots story here.

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