Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Kane Is So Able - and Boss Won't Swap Him for Anyone

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Kane Is So Able - and Boss Won't Swap Him for Anyone

Article excerpt

GARETH Southgate would not swap Harry Kane for any other goalscorer at the World Cup after the England captain's hat-trick secured a recordbreaking win and progress to the knockout phase.

After digging deep to see off Tunisia at the death of Monday's Group G opener, the Three Lions secured a win as impressive as it was comprehensive in putting shambolic Panama to the sword in sweltering Nizhny Novgorod.

England's 6-1 victory was their biggest at a major tournament and sealed progress to the last 16 with a game to spare as John Stones' brace and a fine Jesse Lingard strike complemented a treble by Kane.

Just the third Englishman to score a hat-trick at the World Cup, it moved Kane on to five goals and to the top of the Golden Boot standings.

Asked about Kane's current level in a question mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, England manager Southgate said: "Well, clearly the stage to do that is this one. He has started brilliantly.

"You can dismiss penalties as being easy but the length of time he had to wait before taking that (first one) and the number of distractions, to then keep focused, start again and refocus tells you a bit about the mental toughness he has.

"He is there, he is up at the top. We would not swap him for anyone in the tournament in terms of number nines.

"You know when he has opportunities he is going to bury them. "You sit there very confident in his ability to take chances.

"However, as important in that is the way he sacrifices himself for the team in the way he presses, holds the ball up, contributes to the overall game.

"He is not just a player who stands up front and waits for chances and that is important within the ethic of the team we are trying to create."

Kane went off soon after wrapping up his hat-trick - England's only goal of a second half which was never likely to get near the five struck before the break.

Southgate added: "It is strange because I enjoyed the win against Tunisia more because of the tension in it and the fact you get over the line when you are really under pressure. …

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