Gareth Southgate has backed England captain Harry Kane to surpass Wayne Rooney as the country’s record goalscorer as the Tottenham forward prepares to win his 50th cap against Belgium on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
The Tottenham striker already has 32 England goals to his name, putting him sixth on the all-time list and 21 behind Wayne Rooney.
Southgate said: “In terms of what is possible, the goalscoring record is the really interesting one because his strike rate for us is phenomenal and he has time on his side to chase Wayne Rooney’s record which would be a remarkable feat.
“I know from his perspective, while the personal achievement is something he is driven towards, it is the team achievement.
“He is so focused on the team having success and he would want to look back over the next few years at the team achieving.”
When asked to pick out a stand-out moment for Kane on the international scene, Southgate recalled his first-ever goal for England.
He was England Under-21 boss at the time and had worked with the Spurs striker in the age group before he was given a debut by Roy Hodgson in March 2016 against Lithuania.
“I think his first goal for England with Roy because we were with the Under-21s and whenever one of your players get called up, you always want them to do well,” Southgate added.
“I remember hearing he had scored and that was a brilliant moment for all of us because you want your boys to progress and do well.
“His goal at Hampden as well and of course his goals at the World Cup. To win the golden boot is an incredible personal achievement.
“It is a special moment for him. We have had three or four get to the 50-cap milestone in the last year and for all of them it is a fantastic achievement.”
The England boss also confirmed that every player in the squad took part in Saturday morning’s training session with no player testing positive for coronavirus, following Republic of Ireland midfielder Alan Browne’s positive test on Friday.
Rice: Mount v Grealish debate makes no sense
Gareth Southgate refused to be drawn into the debate on whether Mason Mount or Jack Grealish deserved to play ahead of the other for England.
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, a lifelong friend of Chelsea midfielder Mount, says the framing of the debate has been harsh on Mount and believes there is room for both players to start in the national side, like they did in England’s 3-0 win over Ireland earlier this week.
“We don’t speak about it but it is very harsh,” Rice said of Mount’s criticism.
“I know what his mentality is like. I know how driven he is. It is no surprise that Gareth picks him, Frank (Lampard) picks him and if you gave every Premier League manager the chance, they would pick him as well.
“If you look at Jack and Mas, there will always be comparisons but they are playing in two different parts of the pitch.
“Mason now at Chelsea is playing as an attacking eight and Jack is playing off the left (at Aston Villa) and we saw the other night they can both play in the same team and they are both great players we should be valuing.”