Southgate says Kane can eclipse Rooney scoring record for England


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© Reuters. International Friendly – England v Republic of Ireland

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(Reuters) – England captain Harry Kane may not be too focussed on individual records, but manager Gareth Southgate has backed the striker to surpass Wayne Rooney as their all-time top scorer.

The 27-year-old Kane has scored 32 goals for England since making his debut in 2015 and is on course to overtake Rooney, who retired from international duty with 53 goals.

Kane can add to his tally in his 50th appearance for England when they visit Belgium in the Nations League later on Sunday.

“In terms of what’s possible, the goal-scoring record is the interesting one because his strike rate for us is phenomenal and he has time on his side to chase Rooney’s record, which would be a remarkable feat,” Southgate told reporters on Saturday.

“I know from his perspective, while the personal achievement is something he’s driven towards, it’s the team achievement. He’s so focussed on the team having success and he would want to look back over the next few years at the team achieving.”

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez said that he was not surprised by the Tottenham Hotspur forward’s rise.

“I think he’s a complete striker, but it’s a wonderful story of seeing a young player develop – going out on loan, getting different experiences in different clubs and becoming this iconic player for Spurs, for England,” Martinez said.

“He’s evolved into one of the most clinical number nines in world football, and you’ve got a very modern target man in Kane – someone who can assist and play and has great finishing stats.

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“He’s got the potential to achieve and I’d say the record of Rooney is quite clear, and it’s an impressive stat, but Kane is in a position to achieve that.”

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