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Harry Kane is tipped to beat rivals in race for England slot

By Simon Peach

England duo Gary Cahill and Michael Carrick both sung the praises of Harry Kane as the clamour builds for the Tottenham striker to be given his international bow on Friday.

Kane's breakout season has been rewarded with his first senior call-up for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley on Friday and Tuesday's friendly in Italy.

Chelsea defender Cahill needs no reminders of Kane's talents after the 21-year-old scored twice in Spurs' 5-3 victory over the Blues on New Year's Day.

"He's a real handful, a fantastic talent," said Cahill.

"He's not just somebody who can hold the ball up, he can run in behind, he's got two good feet. For me he's got all the attributes.

"To score a hat-trick leading to his first meet-up, his confidence must be sky high and he's had a terrific season. He's a top player."

Kane has scored 29 goals in all competitions and 19 so far in his first full season in the Barclays Premier League, including a treble against Leicester on Saturday.

"The progress he's made has been sensational, right from the start of the season to the level he's at now, he's gone up two or three levels," said Manchester United midfielder Carrick.

"The thing that's impressed me most is as the spotlight's grown and the expectation's grown with it, he seems to have grown and his performances have improved and improved. That's a really good sign.

"It by no means looks like it's a one-off season. He looks like the real deal and I'm sure he's got a big, big future ahead of him."

Kane's hopes of earning a debut this Friday as England look to claim their fifth Group E win from as many matches were boosted by the injury-enforced withdrawal of Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge.

On whether Kane will be ready to start against Lithuania, Cahill added: "We've got four top strikers here, all champing at the bit to play, all good enough to play and Harry's in that bracket.

"He's in top form in that league and I'm sure that he feels he's ready to play, but of course it's down to the manager and whoever he decides."

Cahill wants more English players in the Premier League but underlined the importance of striking the right balance after plans were announced to make it harder for foreign players to secure work permits.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke warned on Monday that the top-flight is in danger of "having nothing to do with English people" and outlined plans to help alter that.

Stricter rules, approved by the Home Office on Friday, will come into force from May 1 and intend to reduce the number of non-EU players in the Barclays Premier League, who are seen as blocking English talent.

Furthermore, Dyke hopes to persuade the Premier League to reduce the number of non-home grown players from 17 to 13 within a 25-man squad, as well as adjust the definition of 'home grown'.

The plan to help the national team could hinder some clubs, though, with Chelsea looking like one such example given their amount of foreign talent.

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