England 4 Lithuania 0: Wayne Rooney and Roy Hodgson endorse fans’ delight at young Harry Kane's explosive debut

The young Tottenham striker excites the whole country and reminds Rooney of himself when he first played international football

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England's captain, Wayne Rooney, plugged into Harry Kane-mania last night, declaring that the young Tottenham striker excites the whole country and reminds him of himself when he first played international football a dozen years ago.

After Kane’s stunning entry to the national team against Lithuania on Friday, scoring just over a minute after replacing the skipper, the pair could play together in Tuesday’s friendly away to Italy. Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck and Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling were ruled out of that game yesterday as well as James Milner and Leighton Baines, leaving Theo Walcott and Andros Townsend as the only options to play wide.

Manager Roy Hodgson said of a Rooney-Kane combination: “It’s pretty obvious we can do that and actually have done that [in training] but it would mean a change of system, because neither is a wide forward.”


His captain had told Kane “get yourself a goal” when the substitution was made on Friday, but was as astonished as everyone else when the Spurs man did so with his second touch. “It’s incredible really,” Rooney said. “You can feel the excitement around the country. Before he came on, everybody was wanting him on. He probably didn’t think he’d score so quickly himself so we’re all delighted for him. He is a level-headed guy and I’m sure he’ll have the ability to cope.”

Although Rooney was four years younger than the 21-year-old Kane when he first played for England, he can see something of the same fearless attitude, illustrated against Lithuania “after he scored his goal and ran down the left and took two or three players on”.

Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring against Lithuania

Hodgson said of him: “If I was just a fan then I would be shouting the same things, but when you have a responsibility as a coach then you have to think what is best for everybody, for the team.”