Kane aims to be the best after life-changing season

Saturday 20 Jun 2015
Kane chatted openly about the changes in his life over the last six months
It’s fair to say life has changed for Harry Kane over the last six months.

The Tottenham Hotspur striker is back with the England Under-21s squad in Czech Republic for the Euro Finals for the first time since last November.

Sweden v England

UEFA European U21 Championship
The Finals
5pm (BST), Sunday 21 June 2015
Olomouc, Czech Republic
Live on BT Sport

Between his last U21 cap against France, when he scored twice in a 3-2 defeat and Thursday’s opening Euro game with Portugal, Kane has become the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League and netted his first senior goal for the Three Lions in March.

And the increase of attention around the 21-year-old has been particularly noticeable since he reported back for duty last week.

Whether it’s in the lobby at St. George’s Park, outside the team hotel in Olomouc or raising the biggest cheer of the night at Oakwell last Thursday when he came off the bench in the win over Belarus, Kane is a man in demand from fans.

"Life has changed a lot," he admits. 

"But I see it as a compliment when people come up in the street and want photos and autographs. 

Harry Kane leads the way in an England Under-21s training exercise.

Kane and his team-mates are determined to put things right against Sweden

"It means you’re doing the right things and that’s part of it, you have to deal with it.

"I was a fan once, I know what it’s like to go and ask for an autograph or a picture.

"I’m happy to do it and talk to fans or do things for fans. Sometimes, you don’t know how far they’ve travelled just to see you so to not talk to them could be heart-breaking.

"I’d always want someone that I’d looked up to, to be a nice guy and that’s what I try and be."

With Kane, Saido Berahino and Danny Ings all in the initial squad which travelled out for the Euros, there was no shortage of Premier League firepower in Southgate’s team.

But with Berahino now home after a training injury ruled him out of the tournament before the first game, does Kane feel more pressure to provide the goals?  

"No, I think we have goals throughout the whole team and we showed that in qualifying and all of the games we’ve played," he responded.

"We’re all gutted for Saido because he’s done a great job, he’s a top player and a top lad so he’ll be devastated not to be involved.

Harry Kane heads home the winning goal against Lithuania.

Kane scored the winner for England U21s in Lithuania during qualifying last September

"But there’s players who can come in and do a very good job. We’ve got a great squad and not just 11 players. There are 23 players who are all ready to come in when called upon. 

"We all get on very well, we’re good mates, and everyone’s itching for each other to do well and we have a lot of players in the squad who have done well this season for their clubs.

"I’m just one of them and we’re all looking towards the same direction and we all know what we want to do, which is to progress and win this tournament.

"That’s what we’re focused on trying to achieve."

Speaking of achievements, last season proved to be an impressive breakthrough for Kane.

His performances at White Hart Lane have made him one of the top flight’s biggest stars and Kane has no intentions of slowing down.

"I’ve proved to myself that I can do it at the top level this season and that’s great confidence to have," he explained.

harry-kane-celebrates

Harry Kane had a successful season at Spurs last season

"I’ve physically got better and stronger so things are going well, but it doesn’t stop here and this is just the start for me.

"I know what I have to do to keep improving and I’ve got to keep working hard to maintain it and get better throughout the years.

"I want to win trophies and be one of the best players in the world. As any footballer growing up, you want to be the best that you can.

"The top players around the world are doing it week-in and week-out, scoring goals and [putting in] great performances and that’s what I want to achieve.

"Sometimes you see players have a good season and they go off the boil, whether that’s off the pitch or on it.

"I’m quite level headed and never get too high or too low. I know what I have to do and I have great support around me that will always keep me in place if that ever did happen."

For now though, the first thing on Kane’s mind is facing Sweden on Sunday and helping England get their first win of the competition.

The Scandinavians got off to a good start on Thursday, beating Italy by 2-1 so the Three Lions know it won’t be easy.

England Under-21s

Kane has been an important part of the Under-21s squad in qualifying for the Euros

"Sweden are a top team and they showed that by beating Italy, but we know we have more than enough in our room to beat them," explained Kane, who says he never considered missing out on playing in the Euros.

"We’ve got a great togetherness, we all know what we can achieve and we’re an honest bunch.

"We know that there’s things we could have done better [against Portugal], but it’s how you cope with that and we’re going to focus on Sunday now.

"We said going into the tournament that winning two games would take us through and that’s still the case, nothing changes for us.

"We’re not panicking, we’ve got two winnable games coming up and the next one is on Sunday.

"We still think we’ve got a great chance of winning this and that’s what we’ll think until something happens otherwise."

By Nicholas Veevers in Olomouc