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Harry Kane has become the complete striker who is in a class of his own.
That is the verdict of England boss Gareth Southgate who has seen Kane evolve from starting life as a No10, turning into a “phenomenal” centre forward and now combining the two roles like no-one else.
The 27-year-old will win his 50th cap in Belgium on Sunday. He is already sixth in England’s all time goalscoring list with 32.
With Tottenham he tops the Premier League’s assists chart this season with eight, and he is spraying passes to set up chances as much as he is scoring goals.
It has brought glowing praise from Southgate for his England captain, although he insists that Kane has always had that ability and started life as a No10 rather than an out-and-out goalscorer.
Kane is poised to reach a half-century of caps on Sunday
(Image: CameraSport via Getty Images)
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Former England under-21 boss Southgate recalled a game in 2013, a 1-1 draw away to Finland when Kane came on and set up an equaliser for Saido Berahino.
“I was relaying this the other day,” said Southgate. “I think the first game we had with the under-21s, he started on the bench which showed what we know about talent observation!
“We were away in Finland and he came on as a 10. We had Saido Berahino as a 9 and he immediately created a goal that got us an equaliser.
“I know there seems to be more emphasis or more spotlight on that part of his game now but he’s definitely always had it.
The 27-year-old already has 13 goals for Tottenham this season
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
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“He’s as good a provider and as good a passer as he is a finisher and he is, of course, an outstanding finisher.
“So I am hoping he does get that 50th cap on Sunday because it would mean we’d have got through another couple of days without losing another player.”
But even though there was underlying message from Southgate in his praise for Kane’s ability, there can be no no doubt that his figures are world class.
Only Wayne Rooney, Sir Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker, Jimmy Greaves and Michael Owen have scored more goals for England than Kane.
Kane scored on his England debut against Lithuania in 2015
Where does Harry Kane rank among the best forwards in the world? Have your say here.
He is on his way to breaking records for Tottenham and has enough time on his side to do the same for England.
Kane has Heung-Min Son and Gareth Bale spinning off him either side for Spurs and now England have Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford able to do the same.
Dropping deeper to get on the ball before providing a forward pass is now a common occurrence for Kane whereas he used to be more about getting in the box and on the end of crosses.
It is a tantalising prospect and is why Southgate says he is different to the likes of Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku or Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe for World Cup-holders France.
Southgate added: “Every country is going to play differently and have their outstanding players who have different sorts of attributes.
“Harry is a different type of centre-forward to Lukaku, for example. Different to Giroud or Mbappe, depending on who plays for France.
“We are delighted we’ve got him and we know his impact. His scoring record for us is phenomenal.
“You always know, going into a game with the likes of Harry, with Raheem as well, that we’ve got tremendous goal threat now which a lot of countries would be delighted to have.”
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