Belfast Telegraph

England hat-trick hero Kane insists he's not focused on personal glories

England 4 Bulgaria 0

Second treble: Harry Kane
Second treble: Harry Kane
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Harry Kane insists he isn't thinking about breaking England's goals record after firing them a step closer to Euro 2020 qualification.

The striker scored his second international hat-trick in the 4-0 rout of Bulgaria.

It was an all-too-comfortable afternoon for Gareth Southgate's side, who easily made it three wins from three in Group A.

Kane now has 25 goals in 40 appearances for his country, and is well on course to smash Wayne Rooney's all-time record.

Yet he isn't focusing on personal milestones just yet.

"It's obviously something that when I score for England, people bring up," Kane said. "But I've said before, it's still a long way off and there's a lot that can happen.

"Hopefully, I keep scoring goals and we keep winning games, that's the main thing, but we will see what happens.

"I'm in a good place with the players I'm playing with, they are going to create chances, they are going to give me opportunities, I've just got to make sure I'm ready to put them away."

In Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, England had the players to break down a limited but organised Bulgarian side.

It was Sterling's alertness that led to the first in the 24th minute on Saturday.

When Goalkeeper Plamen Iliev tried to play a one-two with Georgi Sarmov in his box, Sterling nipped in, stole the ball and teed up Kane to finish.

England stepped it up in the second half, with Rashford causing havoc down the left. His pace and presence was too much for Nikolay Bodurov, who brought him down in the box, and Kane converted from the spot.

Kane then turned provider for England's third, combining with Rashford before Sterling converted. And Kane completed his treble from the spot in the 73rd minute.

He was hauled down by sub Kristian Dimitrov, sweeping the resulting penalty high into the net. It was his second hat-trick - the other came against Panama in the World Cup last summer - and took him past Sir Geoff Hurst's tally of 24.

Kane's immediate focus is on reaching 30 goals and the first chance comes tomorrow night against Kosovo.

"It's a great milestone (Hurst's) to reach, something I'm very proud of, but I'm always looking forward for the next one, the next set of goals and see if I can get to 30 and how quick I can get to 30, and go from there," he added.

"Another game on Tuesday, where I feel we will be able to create chances, so, hopefully, I can get a couple more."

Rooney, England's all-time record scorer, had 14 goals after his first 40 games, eventually finishing with 53.

Kane, though, isn't focusing on the stats, adding: "I don't want to distract myself from what's the most important thing which is the team and, obviously, performing on the pitch week in and week out for club or for country."

He added: "For me, it's always about improving and getting better so if I get to that (Rooney) tally and I'm still young enough to keep playing then it will be about progressing and scoring more.

"There's a lot that can happen and I've got to make sure I try to stay injury-free and that I keep my place in the England team because we've got a lot of competition for places, so that's all I'm focused on.

"If we're a few years down the line and I'm getting close, then it will be great."

For England it was another obstacle comfortably cleared on the road to next summer's European Championships.

Their group always looked straightforward and, with three wins and 14 goals scored, it is proving that way.

Southgate used Saturday's game to hand a debut to Mason Mount, who played the final 23 minutes.

It came almost a year to the day that he made his debut for England's under-21s in Latvia, while on-loan at Derby County.

Now back at Chelsea, Mount said: "It's been a crazy couple of months, it's happened so quickly to this moment, but I've loved every moment."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph