England record-breaker Harry Kane reflected on a “magical moment” after he put his World Cup pain behind him to stand alone as the country’s all-time leading goalscorer on Thursday night.
Kane’s 44th-minute penalty in Naples helped England to an impressive 2-1 win away to Euros champions Italy and earned him a slice of history.
It moved Kane top of the national team scoring charts with 54 goals and ahead of Wayne Rooney, who he had drawn level with during a 2-1 World Cup quarter-final defeat to France in December.
England captain Kane could have claimed the record in Qatar but sent a second spot-kick over the crossbar late on in the last-eight tie and had to stew over the penalty miss for a number of months before a moment of redemption arrived at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
“Yeah, it means everything, you know,” Kane told Channel 4.
“We were so excited to put the England shirt back on and get back out here and get the campaign started for the Euros next year.
“It had to be a penalty of course and once it hit the back of the net it was just so much emotion.
“Just thanks to all the players, the staff, the fans, my wife, my family back home and everyone who has helped me get to this stage. It is just a magical moment.”
Declan Rice had fired England ahead after only 13 minutes and their supreme first-half display was rewarded with a second goal when Giovanni Di Lorenzo was penalised for handball.
After a lengthy wait following an intervention by VAR, Kane slotted home the spot-kick to become England’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Kane, who helped England to a first win in Italy since 1961, added: “Thankfully I put it away and just a great night.
“We haven’t won in Italy for so long. To score and win the game is special.
“The World Cup was obviously a difficult way to end. It was tough to finish it that way.
“We spoke about getting back to it. We feel like we are one of the best teams in Europe and we just need to keep knocking on the door.
“We’re getting close but coming here and putting in a performance like that today shows we’re ready for the next challenge.”
Congratulations to @HKane on becoming @England’s all-time leading goalscorer. I knew it wouldn’t take long but that was quick 🤣. Great man, unbelievable goalscorer and an England legend. Congrats Harry 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/mX7M8S8al3
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) March 23, 2023
Wayne Rooney, who had held the record since 2015, was among the first to congratulate Kane on social media.
The 53-goal hitman said on Twitter: “Congratulations to Harry Kane on becoming England’s all-time leading goalscorer.
“I knew it wouldn’t take long but that was quick! Great man, unbelievable goalscorer and an England legend.”
Gary Lineker is fourth on the all-time list with 48 goals and added: “Many congratulations to Harry Kane on becoming England’s highest ever goal-scorer.
“A wonderful achievement.”
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) March 23, 2023
The Prince of Wales echoed those sentiments.
“A leader on and off the pitch and now England’s record goal-scorer, a testament to your brilliant career Harry Kane,” a tweet from the Prince of Wales read.
“Congratulations and here’s to many more.”