World Cup 2022: Harry Kane 'not thinking about Golden Boot' - but feels in good form

The Tottenham striker captained England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020. Now he heads to Qatar looking to make it third time lucky and end the nation's 54-year wait for a major men's trophy. With England opening their campaign against Iran on Monday, Kane said he is ready to seize the moment in the Middle East. "Of course it is going to be really hard and a big challenge, but I am ready for that challenge," he said. "You cannot take anything for granted in football. I was lucky enough to play in 2018 in the World Cup and had an amazing experience and a great tournament and in football a lot can change very quickly. "You have to appreciate these moments, for sure, and I am really looking forward to this one because we have got a really good team, a great blend of experience and youth. "In life in general you have to take opportunities that come your way. I look back through my career and I had a great opportunity when I was 21 to grab the starting shirt at Tottenham and work my way up through the team and this is just another step in hopefully that direction. "In four years' time, who knows where I will be? It is about now. I am in good form and that is what I am most excited about." Having ended the 2018 World Cup as the highest goalscorer, Kane will be aiming to retain the award in Qatar - something that has never been achieved. The Tottenham striker has 51 England goals, just two fewer than record-holder Wayne Rooney, but will put the team's targets ahead of his own. "Of course, it would be a great thing to achieve. I was able to do it in 2018 and it helped the team to get to a semi-final," he added. "I know if I won it again this year it means that hopefully the team is doing pretty well and we're going pretty far which is the most important thing. "Of course as a striker I'll be judged on scoring goals, I know how that works, but most importantly it is about giving my best for the team - whether that is scoring, assisting, defending, whatever it may be, I'm ready to do what's necessary to win. "In terms of players, of course we're playing against the best players in the world - the (Cristiano) Ronaldos, (Lionel) Messis, Neymars, the list goes on. "We will have to wait and see - I always try not to think about stuff like the Golden Boot. The most important thing is trying to win the World Cup and that's what my focus is on, that is what the team's focus is on and we know we've got a difficult road ahead, but we're focused on trying to achieve it. "I know it's there and I know people talk about it but I like to just focus on my game and trying to do my best for the team. I know the team we have will create chances and I just need to be ready for ones that come my way. "Obviously I was lucky enough to play with Wayne many times for England and he was a huge player I looked up to growing up and playing for England, watched him in the major tournaments. "So to be close to him is obviously a real honour and for sure, hopefully I can do it as soon as possible but if it's not the case, it's not something I'm going to panic about - I'll just focus game by game."

Southgate, meanwhile, has confirmed England will take the knee in Qatar.

England's Harry Kane (left) and manager Gareth Southgate
England's Harry Kane (left) and manager Gareth Southgate

The Three Lions made the gesture against racism and inequality in 33 straight matches after football returned after the Covid-19 shutdown. England did not take the knee in September's fixtures but they will make the gesture in Monday's Group B opener against Iran and beyond at the World Cup. "We have discussed taking the knee," England manager Southgate said. "We feel we should. "It's what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time. "Of course we understand in the Premier League that the clubs have decided to only do that for certain games, big occasions. "We feel this is the biggest and we think it's a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important." Premier League captains decided ahead of the start of this season to use specific moments to take the knee rather than making the gesture at every match. The teams agreed to perform the act ahead of the opening round, dedicated 'No Room For Racism' matches in October and March, on Boxing Day and the final round, as well as the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.

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