Harry Kane will make history in Russia when he becomes the youngest player to captain England at a World Cup.
Gareth Southgate called the 24-year-old “a meticulous professional” who “sets the standard every day” and the Tottenham talisman has certainly led by example in his fledgling career, plundering goals for club and country since his breakthrough season of 2014-15.
We caught up with the new skipper for the official match programme for Saturday's match with Nigeria at Wembley Stadium, which you can pre-order here and read the interview in full.
‘Harry Kane: England captain’. How does that sound?
It’s amazing, and a real honour for me and my family. Gareth mentioned it to me at the last camp. We had a chat at the Grove for about an hour and he said to me that he wanted me to be captain. I think he told me that long ago to give me time to process it. To captain England is probably every player’s dream and I’d be no different. But I didn’t expect it to happen as quickly as it has. To be captaining England at 24 is amazing. I’m obviously extremely proud but not much changes from my point of view. I’m still the same person, still the same player and we all know we’ve got a job to do.
How did your family react when you told them the news?
They were obviously very proud. We’re all big football fans and big England fans. From my parents’ point of view, I suppose they have watched me playing football as a kid, watched me supporting England as a kid and now I’m going to be captain at a World Cup so they were extremely proud. My mum was quite emotional. It was special for my fiancee, too. We have been together for nearly seven years so she’s been there throughout my whole senior career. She was bursting with pride.
Does the captaincy bring added pressure or does it give you a boost in confidence?
It’s definitely a confidence boost. Every game that I’ve captained England before I’ve managed to score in, so wearing the armband seems to be something I thrive off. Having said that, we know there is going to be pressure on me and the whole team to perform at the World Cup; it’s the biggest competition in the world. I’m excited to see how we cope under that pressure. I’m the captain but we’ve got loads of leaders in this team. We all help each other out and that’s really important.
The new-look match programme costs £5 and includes features with Gareth Southgate, Nick Pope and Nigeria's Alex Iwobi and Daniel Amokachi, Nigerian players in England, a Ray Wilson obituary, England fans heading to Russia, World Cup group preview and more. Order your copy here.