Harry Kane is the ‘best goalscorer in the world’, says Gareth Southgate after captain’s Wembley heroics

Kane made the equaliser and scored the winner with two pieces of instinctive forward play, rescuing England from relegation to League B and sending them to the finals in Portugal next June

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Wembley Stadium
Sunday 18 November 2018 19:24
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Gareth Southgate embraces Harry Kane after full-time
Gareth Southgate embraces Harry Kane after full-time

Gareth Southgate hailed Harry Kane as the “best goalscorer in the world” after the England captain saved England’s Nations League campaign with two crucial interventions against Croatia at Wembley.

Kane made the equaliser and scored the winner with two pieces of instinctive forward play, rescuing England from relegation to League B and sending them to the finals in Portugal next June. Kane has faced plenty of criticism recently but Southgate was full of praise for his captain, not just for those two moments but for his all-round game.

“Harry is the best goalscorer in the world, frankly,” Southgate said afterwards. “You’re always loathe to take a player off of his ability. I know people have questioned some of those decisions over the summer, but he’s our main penalty taker, and our leader. In 98 per cent of the games, his hold up play and goalscoring is critical. He played a fantastic pass for Raheem [Sterling] after dropping off deep and turning in the first half. We have huge belief in him. He is so hungry to lead the team on and further.”

Southgate was delighted with England’s progress, winning the group, and said that he could never have envisaged England having a 2018 this good.

“I’m hugely proud of all the players and staff,” Southgate said, when looking back at the year. “We’ve grown together. We’ve improved every step. Today was another big occasion, a big experience. There was plenty of pressure on the game, and expectation, but they coped with it really well.”

Southgate was also pleased with the atmosphere at Wembley which he said was the best it has been for years. “What pleases me is the connection with the fans,” he said. “I’ve not heard Wembley like that for years. We want to continue on these days and nights, and build on it. That energy helped us get over the line today.”

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