Kane keen to keep on chasing golden boot
The England captain tops the World Cup scoring charts with five and wants even more against Belgium.
Harry Kane will resist any temptation to rest against Belgium as he continues to chase the World Cup golden boot.
The England captain struck a hat-trick as the Three Lions routed Panama 6-1 in Nizhny Novgorod, booking their place in the last 16 with a result that represents not only their biggest ever win in a major tournament but also a statement of intent to their rivals.
His treble – two emphatic penalties and an unintentional deflection off his heel – followed a match-winning brace against Tunisia and took him to the top of the competitions’s scoring charts.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku sit one behind on four and, while the latter looks certain to sit out the Group G decider against England, Kane wants to keep on scoring.
Manager Gareth Southgate may be tempted to let his prize asset take a breather in Kaliningrad, particularly as second place in the group may offer a simpler knockout route than first, but Kane is keeping his eyes on the prize.
“That’s his decision, I guess, but obviously I want to play,” said the 24-year-old, who has twice finished as the Premier League’s leading marksman.
“I want to continue the form I’m in, but whatever decision the gaffer makes we’ll get behind. There is a bigger picture.
“The most important thing is always winning games, and if my goals help my team win then that’s the perfect situation. There’s a long way to go and a lot of good players just behind me (on the list). Hopefully I can just continue and take it into Thursday’s game.”
England currently top the standings on the slenderest of margins. With the same number of points as Belgium and an identical number of goals scored and conceded, a solitary yellow card splits the teams on disciplinary grounds.
Kane, though, is not interested in second place and would rather keep the winning feeling intact regardless of the path it leaves.
“It’s important we finish top,” he said.
“We’re ahead by a yellow card or something but we want to go and try to win the game and take the momentum into the knockout stages.”
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has already signalled his intention to ring the changes for the fixture, but Southgate seems ready to give the situation greater thought.
“I think that’s what we’ve got to do over the next 36 hours or so, to decide what our priority is,” he said.
“For me, the harmony of the group is high on that list. I have complete trust in all the players.
“At this moment my thoughts are with the players who haven’t played as much, but I have to consider everything before I decide upon my team.”
The only time Kane appeared remotely flustered, on or off the field, was when he was invited by an overseas broadcaster to select a song to mark his hat-trick.
He eventually settled on ‘One Kiss’ by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa but was back on safe ground as he reflected on the performance of both himself and his team.
“For sure it’s one to be proud of. Not many players score a hat-trick in the World Cup, so I’m extremely proud of that,” he said.
“We are extremely proud of each other really. The way we played, the discipline, the hard work.
“It’s not every time you go through after two games, so we’re happy with that.”