‘A dream becomes reality’: Harry Kane’s pride at breaking England goals record
Harry Kane said his dream had come true after the striker became his country’s record goalscorer and helped England make a flying start to their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign by winning away to Italy for the first time since 1961.
Kane moved on from the pain of his missed penalty during the World Cup quarter-final defeat to France by scoring the winner from the spot as Southgate’s side secured a 2-1 victory at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
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England, who gained revenge for their defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, were under pressure after losing Luke Shaw to a late red card. But the night belonged to Kane, whose 54th international goal saw him move one clear of Wayne Rooney.
“It was a really special night for me,” England’s captain said. “A really special night for the team – the first time England have won in Italy for a long time so to be a part of that is amazing. I am really proud. Thank you to everyone that has made this dream become a reality. It had to be a penalty. I had a feeling it would be. But I’ve prepared well for it. Thankfully I put it away.”
Kane was asked if his miss against France went through his mind before he converted his penalty. “Any penalty is nerve-racking,” the 29-year-old said. “I was really disappointed with how the World Cup ended. It feels like forever since I last put on an England shirt. I was itching to get out there. It was a great feeling to see that hit the back of the net.”
Southgate embraced Kane after full time. “His overall performance was outstanding,” England’s manager said. “To break the record in the manner he did given the recent history was a real indication of his strength of character. I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. They’re lovely people. He’s a brilliant professional and to do it as quickly as he has is an incredible achievement. The players gave him a brilliant reception afterwards and I think that was both in response to the record and what he’s had to recover from.”
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Kane, who was described as a complete striker by Italy’s manager, Roberto Mancini, addressed the squad in the dressing room after the game. “Everybody recognised this was a very special moment,” Southgate said. “A historic moment and he deserves every bit of praise he’s getting.”
England dominated the first half, took an early lead through Declan Rice and were 2-0 up at half-time. But Southgate was unhappy with his side’s second half. Mateo Retegui scored on his Italy debut and England had a nervy finish after Shaw was booked twice in the space of 54 seconds. The left-back will be suspended when England host Ukraine at Wembley on Sunday.