Roberto Martinez backs Harry Kane to keep breaking England records

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
·3-min read

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez believes England captain Harry Kane has developed into one of the deadliest strikers in world football.

As Martinez prepares to toast a half-century of games in charge of Belgium, Kane is in line to collect his 50th England cap when he leads the Three Lions out for the Nations League clash in Leuven on Sunday.

The Tottenham forward has already scored 32 times for his country and will be aiming to add to his tally to help England to a much-needed victory – where defeat would mean they can no longer reach the Nations League finals.

Former Wigan and Everton manager Martinez knows all about Kane’s ability from first-hand experience and has hailed the 27-year-old’s recent development.

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez and England's Gareth Southgate will meet on the touchline for the fourth time.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez and England’s Gareth Southgate will meet on the touchline for the fourth time. (Ian Walton/PA)

“I didn’t know about our landmark of 50 games came in the same game,” Martinez said.

“But with Harry Kane, I know much is demanded for a player nowadays to get 50 caps and I think that shows you the commitment that he has for England.

“I had the opportunity of seeing Kane developing and growing as a player, going out on loan from Spurs and then starting to play.

“I think he’s evolved into one of the most clinical number nines in world football and you’ve got a very modern target man in Harry Kane – someone who can assist and play and has got great finishing stats.

“I think he is a very complete striker but it’s a wonderful story of seeing a young player develop – going out on loan, getting different experiences in different clubs and then becoming this iconic player for Spurs for England.”

Kane has scored 13 goals and provided 10 assists in just 14 appearances so far this season for Tottenham.

Such form has led England boss Gareth Southgate to suggest Kane could eventually surpass Wayne Rooney to become the country’s all-time leading goalscorer – and Martinez agrees with his compatriot.

Asked if he felt Kane could go on to become England’s greatest ever striker, the Spaniard replied: “Absolutely – but I think I’m nobody to give an opinion.

Harry Kane has scored 32 times for England in 49 appearances.
Harry Kane has scored 32 times for England in 49 appearances. (Steven Paston/PA)

“I think Southgate is the perfect man to answer that question but I would say as an outsider, that I think the development of Harry Kane has been outstanding and he is a player that can break all sorts of English records for the national team.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all. He’s got the potential to achieve and I would say that I think the record of Wayne Rooney is quite clear, and it is an impressive stat but Harry Kane is in a position to achieve that.”

Belgium lost at Wembley last month in the reverse fixture in a game Kane missed through injury and Martinez wants to see an improvement across the 90 minutes if his side are to turn the tables this time out.

Belgium lost at Wembley in October despite Romelu Lukaku's penalty putting them ahead.
Belgium lost at Wembley in October despite Romelu Lukaku’s penalty putting them ahead. (Neil Hall/PA)

“I felt that it was such a close game and a game we had under control in the first half,” he said.

“We allowed the game to go out of our control in the second half and I think it is just the second 45 minutes that we need to improve on.

“We were very pleased with what we did in the first half but on Sunday we have another opportunity to try and extend the good 45 minutes into 90 minutes – that is an area that clearly we want to improve.”