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Kane is on course to be World Cup's star talent, says Trippier


By Adrian Rutherford

It's past midnight in Volgograd, an hour or so after England's win over Tunisia, and Kieran Trippier is speaking to a group of journalists.

Suddenly, from somewhere behind, comes the sound of gushing water as a pipe in the ceiling starts to leak.

Someone jokes that the roof is about to fall in.

It could easily have been an analogy for England's World Cup prospects but for Harry Kane's late, late winner on Monday evening.

That goal - a well-taken header a minute into stoppage time - rescued Gareth Southgate's side on what had been a night of frustration on the banks of the Volga.

Kane is so important for this England team. So much depends on him at this tournament.

The 24-year-old now has 15 goals in 25 international appearances.

Trippier knows all about his Tottenham team-mate's ability in front of goal after he plundered 30 strikes at club level this season, and he believes Kane has the talent to emerge as one of the stars of Russia 2018.

"Yes, 100%", the full-back states emphatically, when asked if Kane can take the tournament by storm.

"His mindset to every game is he's going to score, and that's fantastic," he responds to another question.

"I see it at club level. He goes into every game thinking he can score, and the whole profile, the way he dedicates himself, is phenomenal. He's a top professional."

Tripper (27) has played alongside Kane at Tottenham for three seasons, and says it isn't just on the pitch where he inspires and influences. It makes Southgate's decision to appoint him England captain a logical one.

"Harry's the first one in and the last one out, every single day," he added.

"He looks after himself, he doesn't drink alcohol or anything - he's just a top professional and he helps others, which is most important.

"He helps us all on and off the pitch. He's a top captain and a top role model.

"He's there for different scenarios on the pitch, if things are not working. He's got a big voice in the changing room.

"Everyone looks up to him, everyone listens to him. He has a presence there and when he's with you it lifts you."

The pressure of captaincy can weigh heavily on some players, but not Kane, who appears to thrive under the extra responsibility.

He gave England an early lead on Monday, scoring from close range after John Stones' powerful header had been saved.

A series of missed chances allowed Tunisia back in the game, with Ferjani Sassi levelling via a 35th minute penalty, controversially awarded against Kyle Walker.

Despite plenty of possession, England looked to have run out of ideas in the second half, until Kane's 91st minute winner.

He met a flick-on from Harry Maguire with a powerful back post header to give England only their second win in their opening game at a World Cup since 1998. The other was against Paraguay in 2006.

With Spain, Argentina, Germany and Brazil all failing to win their opening games, it was a big result.

Trippier added: "No game is easy at the World Cup but we want to think about ourselves as a team - what we can do, and that's how we'll move forward.

"We don't want to worry about anyone else, we just work as a team - how we can hurt teams and how we can try and get the victory. We just focus on ourselves in the tournament."

Trippier's willingness to get forward and crossing ability, particularly from corners, was a feature of England's performance.

Kane has benefited from those deliveries at club level, and Trippier hopes they can carry on that link-up in Russia.

"We've got a great understanding, a great relationship," he adds.

"We just try and put it in dangerous areas. If we're defending it we wouldn't like it, so we just try and put it in those areas because players like Dele (Alli), Vards (Jamie Vardy) and Harry are always going to be there and score goals."

Trippier was also impressed with England's patience against a well-organised Tunisia side.

The same calmness will be needed when England face Panama in the industrial heartland of Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday.

"You've got experience all over the field. You don't panic. We knew it was going to come," Trippier adds.

"We'd created so many chances in the game. We just needed to be clinical in front of goal and take our time.

"We knew the second goal would come. We didn't want it to be this late, but it's a massive victory for the team."

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