England no longer scared of saying we can win World Cup – Kane

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Harry Kane believes England are no longer scared of admitting they can win the World Cup, where he thinks the Three Lions' poor form may work in their favour.

Gareth Southgate's side reached the 2018 World Cup semi-final and lost on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 showpiece in what was England's first major final in 55 years.

But they head to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup short of form after being relegated from the top tier of the Nations League following three draws and three losses in Group A3.

Southgate's team have not won since a 3-0 friendly victory over Ivory Coast in March, but captain Kane says the Three Lions will not shy away from outlining their hopes of lifting the World Cup.

"We have to believe we can win it," the Tottenham striker told Sky Sports."I look back at England 10, 15 years ago and it was almost [like] we were scared to say we wanted to win it.

"I think one of the big shifts that we've made over the last four or five years with Gareth is not being afraid to say that.

"Look, we're going to this tournament to win it because we believe we can. It'd be wrong to think otherwise. What's the point of going to a World Cup and not believing that you can bring the trophy home?

"It's going to be tough and we're going to have to work extremely hard, have a little bit of luck and have a lot of things go our way to achieve that.

"But I think it's important not to be afraid to say that that's what we're going there to do."

Pressure has mounted on Southgate after a dismal Nations League showing, yet Kane says the winless run has lowered expectations and may help England in their November 21 opener against Iran.

"The first game's really important, for sure," Kane added. "Of course it hasn't been the greatest period in a long time for England. Since Gareth took charge – we haven't had a spell like we've had.

"But in a way, before a major tournament that can be a really good thing because it allows you not to be carried away, or even the media or the press to get carried away.

"I feel like if we won every game leading up to this tournament it would've been, 'We're guaranteed to win it' and 'We're going to win it', and that can come with a different pressure.

"We feel like being judged on major tournaments is the main thing and the last two we've had have been good."

As for the fitness of Kane, who has been ever-present for Tottenham in the Premier League, the 29-year-old believes the mid-season tournament will help him hit the ground running.

"For sure, I'd rather be going into it playing loads of games where you feel match fit," he continued. "Sometimes after the season in the summer you have a break and then you have to gear back up to play and you haven't played a lot of games.

"You can try and train as much as you can but the bottom line is you need to be ready to have all your energy ready for the game, and that's what I'm trying to do.

"I think major tournaments test you the most in terms of the high pressure. Playing for England is always high pressure but in a major tournament there's always that added incentive.

"The mentality of being away from home, being in camp for five or six weeks but this one is fairly quick because it's during the season. Normally you're away four or five weeks before the tournament and then you're away four or five weeks in the tournament, so it is a long period of time where you're just outside your comfort zone.

"But I guess what separates the top nations and the winning nations from the others is who can deal with that the best."