Monday 23 April 2018

Hurst backs Kane to replace Wayne

England v Slovakia Live TV3/ITV, KO 7.45

England’s striker Harry Kane (r) is pictured in training with (l-r) Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge ahead of tonight’s clash with Slovakia at Wembley.
England’s striker Harry Kane (r) is pictured in training with (l-r) Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge ahead of tonight’s clash with Slovakia at Wembley.

World Cup winner Geoff Hurst believes Harry Kane is the man to replace Wayne Rooney as England's number one striker as he enters the peak years of his career.

However, Hurst - the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final - does not believe Kane will manage to break Rooney's record of 53 goals for the national team.

Tottenham forward Kane scored twice in the dour 4-0 win over Malta to take his tally to 10 in 20 appearances and Hurst, scorer of 24 international goals himself, thinks he will be England's main man for the next half-dozen years.

"There is a period in everybody's career where for six or seven years you are at your best, you are young enough to run through a brick wall and know how to play the game and score goals," Hurst said.


"He's had a couple of years scoring the goals for Spurs and England and you would assume, all things being equal, Harry Kane will be around the way he is performing now for the next six-odd years at the very least."

Asked whether he thought Kane could beat Rooney's record, Hurst said: "No. It is phenomenal what he achieved, to beat the record (of Bobby Charlton), and his record stands for itself in terms of games and goals."

Rooney announced his international retirement 10 days ago despite Gareth Southgate wanting to recall the 31-year-old.

Hurst, a World Cup winner in 1966, backed the former captain's decision. "I fully agree with him wanting to retire," he said.

"In our time when the money wasn't as good you wanted to hang on for England as long as you possibly could, as while you were playing for England it made it financially worthwhile.

"Today players are not in that position, so players can decide for themselves.

"I fully support the decision he has made. I said it was the right thing for him to go and not to be picked by Southgate earlier and the decision he has taken to retire is fantastic."

Meanwhile, England manager Gareth Southgate has revealed Kane measures his goal record against perennial Ballon d'Or contenders Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Tottenham striker Kane is a back-to-back golden boot winner at Premier League level and a brace against Malta on Friday took his international tally to 10 in 20 games.

With five of those coming in the past three games he is looking increasingly comfortable with the demands of leading his country's attack and the boss is impressed with just how high the forward's sights are set.

"He's in top form, but he's also got the mentality to want to be the best," said Southgate on the eve of tonight's World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.

"He knows where he's sitting. I asked him how many goals in how many games and he knew. He also knew how many Ronaldo had at this point, how many Messi had at this point and everybody else.

"He's driven to be one of the world's best and why can't that happen moving forward?"

Scotland skipper Scott Brown "would love" England to give the Scots a helping World Cup hand by beating Slovakia.

Gordon Strachan's side were given fresh hope of reaching Russia next summer with a convincing 3-0 win in Lithuania on Friday night. With three Group F fixtures remaining, the third-placed Scots are six points behind leaders England and four behind Slovakia as Malta visit Hampden Park.

A win for Southgate's side against Slovakia, assuming Scotland take care of the group's bottom side, would leave Strachan's side relishing the visit of the Slovaks in October before the Scots travel to Slovenia for the final fixture.

Asked if he expected England to win against Slovakia, the Celtic midfielder said: "I would love them to.

"If it helps us then I would definitely take that, yes.

"England are a great team, here's hoping they can do us a favour."

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