Harry Kane has launched his tenure as England captain by insisting that he believes Gareth Southgate’s England side can win the World Cup, and that they just have to brave and proud of their ambitions to lift the trophy in Moscow on 15 July.
Kane was confirmed as England captain on Tuesday morning, two months after Southgate had secretly broken the news to him at an England meet-up. Kane had only told his closest family since then. Today’s press conference at St George’s Park was Kane’s first official duty in the role, and he set the tone for his tenure with a brave, bullish stance on England’s chances.
Echoing comments he has made as Tottenham player in recent weeks, Kane said that our national mentality should be more positive and ambitious, and that this England team should not be afraid of saying that they want to win the World Cup. Even though England have not won the tournament, or any other one, for 52 years.
“It’s a strange one,” said Kane. “I feel like our mentality, we’re a bit afraid to say we want to win stuff, because we’re afraid of the fans’ or media’s reaction. We go into our shells. But I want us not to be afraid to say that we want to win it. We have to be brave. Whether we go out at the group stage or the semi-final, it’s the same. We discuss as players and say we shouldn’t have any fear. We want to win it, we’ll go there and do our best to achieve that.”
Kane’s brave words stand out given the national mood of expectation management but he was unembarrassed to say that he thinks England can win in Russia. As unlikely as that may sound now. “I believe we can win it, anyone can,” Kane said. “I can’t say we’re not going to win it, because we could. I want to win everything I do, it’s my mind-set, and so do the players. That’s what we’re going to try and do. There are some really good teams in the World Cup, but it’s worth fighting for, those dreams of lifting it. We’re going to fight and give everything we’ve got.”
That is why Kane revealed that he has been thinking about lifting the famous trophy at the Luzhniki Stadium in just under two months’ time. “Of course you think about it, it’s impossible not to, or to dream about it,” Kane said. “It’s the World Cup, the biggest competition in the world. It’s a dream to be playing in it. It’ll be hard, a tough job, but we’re excited to be there and want to get out there.”
Kane revealed the circumstances of his finding out about becoming England captain, and the surprising fact that he was told in secret back in March. “I found out a few weeks ago,” Kane said. “I met Gareth at the Grove when the squad were there [in late March]. We were talking for an hour or so, and he said he wanted me to be the captain. I’ve had to keep it quiet a while, but it’s fantastic. I filled up with pride. I just told my close family: my fiancee, Mum and Dad, and brother. That’s it. We spoke about when it was going to be announced, but I had to keep my lips sealed.”
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