ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson believes this is the perfect time for Harry Kane’s maiden senior call-up and it will not preclude the Tottenham striker from playing in this summer’s Under-21 European Championship.
There were not many clamouring for the 21-year-old to be in the Spurs starting line-up at the start of the season, never mind the national team.
Yet Kane’s Roy of the Rovers rise continues apace and his 26-goal haul at club level has brought with it England recognition. The forward is the only uncapped player in Hodgson’s 24-man squad for the forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania and a friendly in Italy – a call-up the manager believes he more than deserves. Hodgson said: “I don’t think he has anything to prove because to get into this squad he has proven that he has got the qualities we are looking for. He’s the right type of player with the right type of qualities and we know he’s the right kind of man as well because we know a little bit about his character and the type of person he is.
“The thing he has got to do is play lots and lots of games. That’s what he has got to do, he has got to keep doing it. He has broken into the Tottenham team and kept people like Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado out of the team. He has been chosen in front of them because, obviously, the coach believes him to be the better man for the job at this moment in time. He has just got to keep doing that.
“When I say he has got to prove himself, you break on to the scene, everyone sees your talent, everyone appreciates it but then, unfortunately, you’ve only really still made one step along the way. You can’t say you’ve fully arrived until you do it on a consistent basis.”
Kane has shown impressive maturity since rising to prominence with Tottenham and is no stranger to national team football having become a regular for England under-21s.
The Spurs striker scored six goals as Gareth Southgate’s side qualified for this summer’s European Championship finals in the Czech Republic – a tournament he could still feature in, despite this senior call-up.
“When it comes to Harry Kane, it was very simple this time,” Hodgson added. “He has been included in this squad, where we can get to know him and he can get to know the other first-team national players. This was the moment for him. It doesn’t preclude him from going to play in the summer for the under-21s but I think it would be wrong just to say ‘you’re doing so well that on merit you deserve a place in the first national team, but because there is an under-21 tournament you can go and play two friendlies for them’.
“Gareth was of exactly the same opinion and it was the same case with Saido Berahino in the last [squad]. We had the same discussion.”
Nobody managed more goals in qualification than Berahino’s haul of ten – form that he has continued at club level with West Brom.
The striker, an unused substitute during the last meet-up, has been omitted this time around, while under-21s team-mate Danny Ings of Burnley and free-scoring QPR striker Charlie Austin have been overlooked. “Obviously the competition up front is pretty strong,” said Hodgson.
“Apart from Harry Kane, there is Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling. That’s pretty strong competition and I am talking about what we regard as some of our most important players.
“Before I can start adding the Ings and Berahinos, there has got to be a gap somewhere.”
England squad: J Hart (Manchester City), F Forster (Southampton); L Baines (Everton), G Cahill (Chelsea), N Clyne (Southampton), K Gibbs (Arsenal), P Jagielka (Everton), P Jones (Manchester United), L Shaw (Manchester United), C Smalling (Manchester United), K Walker (Tottenham); R Barkley (Everton), M Carrick (Manchester United), F Delph (Aston Villa), J Henderson (Liverpool), A Lallana (Liverpool), J Milner (Manchester City); R Sterling (Liverpool), A Townsend (Tottenham), T Walcott (Arsenal), H Kane (Tottenham), W Rooney (Manchester United), D Sturridge (Liverpool), D Welbeck (Arsenal).
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