Sport Soccer

Saturday 16 December 2017

Harry Kane hot streak came as no surprise to England number one Joe Hart

England's Joe Hart has hailed team-mate Harry Kane for his current
England's Joe Hart has hailed team-mate Harry Kane for his current "hot" streak

Joe Hart is revelling in Harry Kane's hot streak and believes the key to his England team-mate's success lies in his simplicity.

The Tottenham striker rattled home 13 goals for club and country last month and goes into Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Slovenia as the man most likely to deliver victory and a place in Russia next summer.

Hart has shared a pitch with some of the biggest names in English football's recent history - from Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to John Terry and Wayne Rooney - and is in no doubt who the current centre of attention is.

"Right now Harry is hot," said Hart. "He has (Mauricio) Pochettino, one of the hottest managers in the world, who regards him highly and there are reasons for that.

"Harry will keep being Harry and he will keep scoring goals. As long as he is in my team, wearing an England badge, I want that to continue.

"Whether he keeps his form, scores 40 goals or ends up with 20, he is still a top player and we are lucky to have him."

As a goalkeeper and training ground team-mate, Hart has first-hand experience of the qualities that have brought Kane back-to-back Golden Boot awards in the Premier League.

And he sees a player who eschews tricks and flicks in favour of ruthless efficiency in front of goal.

"There is no real secret to him and that is the brilliance of Harry," Hart said.

"It is not dazzling skills, Harry is just brilliant at what he does and he is just one of the best out there. You know you will get a hard shot with Harry. If you give him half an inch he will get a strike on goal and make you work.

"He keeps scoring goals and you cannot ask for any more than that. Long may it continue in an England shirt."

England duty has proved a steady constant for Hart over the last two seasons, with Manchester City sending him on loan to Torino last year and a possible relegation battle on his hands with current club West Ham.

He has been an ever-present on the road to 2018, conceding just three times in eight games - a record bettered only by Germany.

Manager Gareth Southgate reaffirmed his number one status just last month, amid renewed competition from the likes of Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford, though Hart is not taking his shirt for granted.

"Of course it is nice to hear. The few opinions that matter to me are my managers' and team-mates'," Hart said.

"For him to say that was a great plus for me, but I understand he was probably fed up with questions about it and maybe felt he had to be definitive with what he was doing. But I will not read too much into it or be resting or relying on that.

"I have got some fantastic competition. And I say fantastic because I really enjoy it and enjoy the standard of goalkeeping at the moment, especially with England and with the Premier League."

Hart is a veteran of almost a decade of Three Lions action and, though there has been precious little tournament joy in that time, he cannot help but be optimistic about the current generation's prospects.

"I feel great behind this team. It really excites me and fascinates me, what we have to offer," he said.

"I believe in the squad from the bottom of my heart. I believe we are capable but there is a big difference in believing in something and doing it.

"That is why we want to qualify on Thursday and take a good performance on Sunday and then look forward to making a big impact at this tournament."

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