Harry Kane backed by Gareth Southgate to lead England well into his 30s like Ronaldo and Lewandowski

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 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Harry Kane has been backed to be England’s leading man well into his 30s — just like Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski.

Gareth Southgate claims the Three Lions captain has years left at the highest level, insisting the striker can remain his country’s talisman for as long as he wants.

Tonight sees Kane go head-to-head with Lewandowski when England take on Poland in their World Cup qualifier.

Southgate describes the pair as two of the finest strikers on the planet. And just as Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski remains at the top of his game at the age of 33, England’s manager says 28-year-old Kane can go on just as long.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has just become the all-time record goalscorer in international football at the age of 36 after returning to Manchester United.

Tonight, Kane will look to add to his 40 England goals and move closer to Wayne Rooney’s record of 53. Southgate said: “There is every chance he will go as long as possible because he’s an incredible professional.

“Normally those things are determined by how you look after your body, what you eat, how you prepare. So he’s going to do that and that’s going to give him the best chance.

“You never know what circumstance can happen around that, but he will give himself the best chance.”

While Lewandowski has won the game’s biggest honours with Bayern, Kane is yet to win any major silverware and this summer saw his hopes of a move to Manchester City ended by Tottenham’s refusal to sell

Still, Southgate says Kane’s strike rate is proof enough that he is alongside the Pole as one of the world’s greatest forwards.

He said: “The two of them probably, with [Romelu] Lukaku, are the ones that spring to mind when you talk about focal points of the team, as a No9, with the goalscoring records that they have.

“They all play slightly differently, although I see a lot of comparables with Lewandowksi and Kane in the way they come deeper, receive play, play team-mates in, play those excellent passes, as well as their finishing capabilities and their range of finishing.

“There are without doubt similarities and those three are forwards at the top of their game.”

Kane is unrivalled as England’s leading man — and Southgate’s confidence that the Tottenham star can maintain that status for five or more years means frustration for those hoping to succeed him, such as Mason Greenwood.

“In terms of young players, the challenge is there because it’s possible for someone to come along who can be better,” added the England manager.

“The development of those young players will be important. We talk about competition within the squad, but you need that in every position. There’s no reason why young players can’t come in and achieve that, provide that, that’s the challenge for them.

“With Mason Greenwood, I suppose we are still waiting to see whether he will be a nine or whether his strongest position might be as seven or 11 or maybe a 10. That’s not so important at his age.

“The important thing is he’s playing in big matches and developing really well and is clearly one of the best finishers in the country already, so I don’t think nailing down a position at this moment is critical for him.”

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