Harry Kane is ready for the “amazing honour” of leading his country at a World Cup after being being named England captain for next month’s tournament.
The Tottenham striker was confirmed as Three Lions skipper by manager Gareth Southgate during a team meeting at St George’s Park on Monday.
He has long been favourite to land the prestigious role but Southgate has rotated the captaincy since taking over in 2016 in a bid to encourage shared responsibility.
A very proud day. It means a lot to me to be named @England captain. A massive thanks to family, friends and fans who have supported me through thick and thin. 🦁🦁🦁 #EnglandCaptain #ThreeLions pic.twitter.com/afncNkoVnd— Harry Kane (@HKane) May 22, 2018
Now, with just 23 days to go before the competition gets under way in Russia, Kane has emerged as the nation’s figurehead, edging out Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Spurs club-mate Eric Dier.
“To be leading the lads out is going to be special,” Kane said as he and Southgate appeared in a live stream on England’s official Twitter feed.
“Obviously you always dream of playing for England, growing up. To be the captain is that little bit more. It’s an amazing honour.
“(I’m) so excited, obviously excited for the World Cup. I just can’t wait to be there and experience it. But for me nothing changes – I’m the same person, the same player, and it’s just about the team. We’ve just got to do what we can and go as far as we can.”
The 24-year-old added on his personal Twitter account: “A very proud day. It means a lot to me to be named @England captain. A massive thanks to family, friends and fans who have supported me through thick and thin.”
Kane first skippered England in the qualifier against Scotland last June and has done so on three further occasions.
He has made no secret of the fact he coveted the job on a more permanent basis and made all the right impressions on Southgate – a man who captained all of his professional clubs and knows plenty about the expectations the post entails.
“Harry has some outstanding personal qualities. He is a meticulous professional and one of the most important things for a captain is that they set the standard every day,” he said.
“He has belief and high standards and it is a great message for the team to have a captain who has shown that it is possible to be one of the best in the world over a consistent period of time and that has been his drive.
“My feeling is that over the last 18 months in the camps that he’s been with us he has shown that he has got the desire to take that into a team environment and he recognises the importance of bringing others with him.”
Henderson, currently preparing for Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid, and Dier will still be expected to showcase their leadership qualities, as will others.
One of Southgate’s primary touchstones is his involvement in Euro ’96, a tournament where England progressed to the semi-finals and boasted a number of experienced captains and big personalities.
“Harry will need the support of the other good leaders that we have got around him,” said the manager.
“You don’t become a top team by just having a good captain with good values because that has got to spread right throughout the group, but I think he is the one who is ready to take that challenge on.”
Alan Shearer, who captained England at the 1998 World Cup and again at Euro 2000, tweeted: “Congratulations @Hkane on being named @England captain for @FIFAWorldCup. No greater honour #Russia2018”.