Mark Irwin: Gareth Southgate has England evolving so quickly but one constant is captain Harry Kane

THANK God for Harry, England and St George’s Park.

Gareth Southgate’s team is evolving so quickly that it is hard to keep track of all the changes.

Mark Irwin: Gareth Southgate has England evolving so quickly but one constant is captain Harry KaneReuters5 Harry Kane's late winner secured England's place in the Uefa Nations League Finals

But the one constant in a world of international uncertainty is captain Harry Kane.

England’s Mr Reliable once again showed that he could keep his head when all about him were losing theirs with a late winning goal straight from the training ground.

Ben Chilwell’s 85th-minute free-kick into the mixer was crying out for a final touch.

And who better to apply it than the man who never makes a crisis out of a drama?

Mark Irwin: Gareth Southgate has England evolving so quickly but one constant is captain Harry KanePA:Empics Sport5 Tottenham ace Kane celebrates after his effort nestled into the bottom right corner
Mark Irwin: Gareth Southgate has England evolving so quickly but one constant is captain Harry KaneReuters5 Harry Kane celebrates a goal that took England through to the Nations League finals

Not since the days of Jimmy Greaves have England had a finisher of such clinical efficiency.

Twenty goals in 35 appearances for his country means he now has a better international strike rate than Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Wayne Rooney and Bobby Charlton.

It could have been 21 but for Jesse Lingard’s tap-in to make certain of a Kane shot which may well have crawled over the line unaided.

Not that Kane will be losing any sleep over that. For unlike most modern-day superstars, he does not have an ego to match his giant talent.

Mark Irwin: Gareth Southgate has England evolving so quickly but one constant is captain Harry KaneAFP or licensors5 England players mob captain and hero Harry Kane after another goal
Mark Irwin: Gareth Southgate has England evolving so quickly but one constant is captain Harry KaneReuters5 England players wildly celebrate after Kane banged in a late strike against Croatia

Kane was genuinely hurt when he was derided for claiming a goal against Stoke last season which barely brushed the top of his head.

Yet where would England be now without those predatory instincts?

Heading for the second division of the Nations League and two extra European Championship qualifiers, that’s where.

Instead, England fans can now look forward to another summer of sunshine as Southgate’s progressive young team head towards Portugal for next year’s finals.

It is only four months since they were cruelly beaten in the World Cup semi-finals by Croatia yet so much has changed since then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *