Newly-appointed captain Harry Kane believes England can win this summer’s World Cup.
And he would love to unite millions in the same way as the weekend’s royal wedding proved such a popular success.
Months of questions and speculation came to an end on Tuesday morning when the 24-year-old was confirmed as Gareth Southgate’s skipper for Russia.
Kane has long been favourite to wear the armband at the World Cup given the Tottenham striker epitomises the brave, bold and fearless mindset the manager is trying to instil.
Despite being part of the Euro 2016 exit to Iceland, failings of the past do not appear to weigh heavy and the Tottenham striker talked up the Three Lions’ chances in his first press conference as captain.
“I think we can, I think we can win it,” Kane said at St George’s Park.
The end of a busy but very proud day for me. You always dream of playing for @England growing up and being the captain is that bit more. Thanks for all your messages. 🦁🦁🦁 #ThreeLions pic.twitter.com/rnlQosNbNY— Harry Kane (@HKane) May 22, 2018
“We know we’re not favourites to win it. But you look at this season, for example, no one would have thought Liverpool would have got to the Champions League final and they did.
“And you look at maybe Man United back in the Ferguson days when they had a young team and dominated the Premier League for years to come.
“So, it’s not really an excuse that we’re young – it could be a good thing.
“I believe we can win it and that’s what we’ve got to try and do. Anything else is not good enough, really.”
Kane believes he will be fresh this summer, thanks to his fine-tuned preparation and post-season break that included a trip to the Bahamas.
It was not all rest, though, as the striker and fiancee Kate got up at 6.30am while overseas to watch Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle on Saturday.
“Just the way the whole nation comes together at one time and supports them is amazing,” Kane said.
“That’s obviously something we hope for in the World Cup.”
Kane spoke with confidence and honesty on his first outing as England captain – having already proven his trustworthiness by keeping his role under wraps in the two months since Southgate told him.
Such early notice gave the 24-year-old plenty of time to dream about lifting the World Cup this summer, when he believes the squad’s youthful exuberance should mean wearing the Three Lions is not a burden.
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
“For me, it’s a strange one,” Kane said.
“Maybe we’re a bit afraid to say we want to win stuff because we’re afraid of the reaction of maybe the media or the fans, so maybe that has made players go into a bit of a shell.
“Whereas what I am trying to say is look, we’re not afraid to say we want to win it because every country wants to win it.
“We have to be brave, we have to take it on the chin. Whether we go out at the group stage or the semi-final, it’s the same – you don’t win the World Cup.
“That’s what we’ve got to try and discuss as players, to have no fear, just when we talk about it we want to win it and we go from there.”
Kane: âItâs a massive honour. You always dream of playing for England growing up, and to be the captain is that little bit more. To be leading the lads out is going to be special.â pic.twitter.com/UaRZd8b4uJ— England (@England) May 22, 2018
Southgate believes “meticulous professional” Kane is the ideal standard bearer for England, with the striker hoping to motivate in a similar way to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Other inspiration comes in the form of Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris and fellow Chingford boy David Beckham.
“Maybe there is something in the water,” Kane said when speaking about Beckham, who had to develop a thick skin when pilloried for his sending-off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.
That abuse came at a time before social media, where the current England skipper has recently been mocked by fans for claiming a goal against Watford – and by a Football Association-run account after the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United.
“I’m not sensitive at all,” Kane said. “It drives me to be better if anything.
“I’m a player who has had to prove people wrong my whole career to reach the level I am at now.
Gareth Southgate: âHarry has some outstanding personal qualities.— England (@England) May 22, 2018
âHe is a meticulous professional and one of the most important things for a captain is that they set the standard every day.â pic.twitter.com/JSymXKMlL0
“The loan spells, just growing up, trying to break my way into the Tottenham team.
“It drives me on, it makes me want to prove people wrong, it makes me want to work even harder.
“If that pressure comes in the World Cup, the only way I’ll deal with it is to work even harder.”