England stars face age-old problem of producing club form on international stage in bid to back-up Harry Kane

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Much of the attention during this round of international fixtures has been centred around Harry Kane and his quest to become England’s record goalscorer.

After finding the net against Germany last week, Kane is now just three goals off Wayne Rooney’s all-time record — and the England captain will be keen to make the most of Tuesday’s match against Hungary.

Kane’s hunt for history has acted as a reminder of how reliant England are on him. At present, his tally of England goals stands at 50, which is more than the rest of the current squad combined.

Saturday’s frustrating 0-0 draw with Italy was further evidence of how vital Kane is to Gareth Southgate’s side.

Right now, the Tottenham striker is doing nearly all of the heavy lifting when it comes to finding the net for England, with Raheem Sterling chipping in, too, and his penalty against Germany is the only goal Southgate’s side have scored during this run of Nations League games.

“We’re very, very reliant on Harry and Raheem for our goals at the moment, and that is a concern,” said Southgate. “In the end, the quality of your top players has a large factor in determining how successful you are. We’re very fortunate that we’ve got some very good ones and our captain’s goal-scoring record is phenomenal.

“But we have got to start to spread that load and there are players that are scoring more regularly with their clubs. We’ve got to convert that into international football.”

The run of games this month has shown how Southgate has problems to address ahead of the World Cup in Qatar later this year, but this issue at least looks like one that can be solved.

England have goals elsewhere in the squad, particularly in the wide areas operating next to Kane. Bukayo Saka, Jarrod Bowen, Mason Mount and Sterling all scored 10 Premier League goals or more for their clubs this season. There are options outside the squad, too, with Emile Smith Rowe, James Maddison and Ollie Watkins hitting double figures as well.

“It’s not that we don’t score [in training],” said Bowen.” The confidence is definitely there. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be. It is just fine margins and that final execution. You score two, three goals and the game is a different story. It’s just about converting those chances and being really ruthless.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The challenge for the likes of Bowen is converting their club form to the international stage, where the chances are fewer and the opposition tougher.

England have created opportunities during their three games, but have failed to take them — even Kane has been guilty of that.

Saturday’s draw with Italy typified England’s woes, with Mount hitting the bar and Sterling missing a sitter from a few yards out. Italy were equally poor and perhaps some of it can be put down to end-of-season fatigue.

Several players are pushing 60 games now for club and country during the current campaign, which seems absurd when the fixtures for the new one are announced on Thursday.

Kane would love nothing more than equalling or even breaking Rooney’s record before he jets off on holiday.

Southgate’s squad will be looking forward to a well-earned break, but before that they have one more game tomorrow as they host Hungary at Molineux.

Kane is set to start and the striker would love nothing more than equalling or even breaking Rooney’s record before he jets off on holiday.

Southgate would undoubtedly like that too, not least because it would get rid of one more distraction ahead of the World Cup, but what would be even more rewarding would be England’s other forwards coming to the party.

So far, they have been left trailing in Kane’s wake, but this recent Premier League season has shown that does not have to be the case.

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