Euro 2016: Harry Kane ready to deliver for England

Harry Kane
Harry Kane
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Harry Kane is convinced he can be the man to fire England into the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, claiming he has not yet had a clear scoring opportunity in France.

England face a knockout match against Iceland in Nice on Monday, with Kane hoping to return to the number nine role after a slow start to his first major tournament.

The Tottenham striker was last season’s top Barclays Premier League goalscorer with 25, and has already netted five times in 14 appearances for his country.

But after drawing a blank against Russia, and again in the first half against Wales, he was taken out of the firing line by manager Roy Hodgson, only re-emerging for the closing stages of the 0-0 draw against Slovakia.

In all he has played 150 minutes, and has been credited with eight chances by UEFA.

He had one header blocked on the line by Wales’ Neil Taylor and glanced another wide against Slovakia, but as he attempts to force his way back in front of Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge, Kane suggested the ball has yet to fall for him.

“Probably not,” he said, when asked if he had spurned any genuine openings.

“Not a clear chance where I’d say ‘I’m disappointed I missed that, I wish I’d scored that one’. But you just have to be ready for when that chance comes.

“It’s three games in. As a striker I want to score every game, I want to score two in every game.

“But it doesn’t always work like that. I’ll keep my confidence up and, if I’m playing on Monday, I’ll do my best to score and my best for the team, creating chances for others.

“I want to score goals, I want to win football matches. Hopefully, if called upon on Monday, I can do that, get on the scoresheet and win the game.”

Kane last found the net against Turkey in the first of three pre-tournament warm-up matches, a game where he also missed from the penalty spot.

He would nevertheless be one of the most obvious takers in a shootout scenario, something England must be prepared for having drawn two out of three matches thus far.

Kane has converted eight times from 12 yards in the past two seasons for Spurs, last missing for them against West Ham in 2015, and is first to volunteer his services.

“I would definitely take a penalty,” he said.

“We have been practising a few in training and I’m one who practises a lot through the season, obviously taking them for Tottenham, so if a penalty comes up, I’ll be ready to take it.

“Technically you all learn where to put the ball in the corner, but there’s no pressure (in training). It’s a bit more psychological in a tournament. It comes down to holding your nerve on the night and putting it in the corner.”

That is precisely the area England are perceived to have struggled with in the past but, backed up by confident club-mates such as Dele Alli and Eric Dier, Kane is optimistic.

“From what I’ve seen and know about the squad, I’d be more than confident if any stepped up to take a penalty,” he said.

“We have a lot of good strikers of the ball. The Spurs boys wouldn’t have a problem stepping up. The others wouldn’t, either.

“Hopefully it won’t come to penalties on Monday. Hopefully we win the game, but if called upon, we’ll all step up and try and score.”

While much has been made of the relative inexperience of the squad, all five Spurs players on duty are in their first major tournament, as is Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, manager Hodgson does is now on his third.

When it was suggested defeat to the smallest nation to ever reach the finals, and the lowest ranked side left in the draw, would spell the end of the coach’s four-year reign, Kane added: “It’s not down to us, it’s not our decision to make.

“That’s something the FA will decide, whether we go out of the tournament or win it. We have to focus on our jobs and play for the manager who is there now. That’s all we can do.

“He’s been a fantastic coach for me, a fantastic manager. I’ve learned a lot from him. Everything I’ve learned from him has helped in my career.

“We’re doing our best for the team, for him and for our country. That’s all we can do. You can’t do more.