Kane plans to make amends by hit­ting the heights in Rus­sia

Tot­ten­ham striker keen to ban­ish the mem­ory of Euro 2016 with suc­cess­ful World Cup

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER - GERRY COX

HARRY KANE says he can­not wait for the World Cup to be­gin — and claims he will be bet­ter pre­pared than he was at Euro 2016 in France two sum­mers ago. The Tot­ten­ham striker goes into to­day’s game against Le­ices­ter need­ing to re­peat the four-goal haul he hit against them a year ago if he is to over­take Mo Salah for the Pre­mier League’s Golden Boot.

Kane starts the day on 28 goals, three be­hind the Liver­pool man, and although he has scored four times in his past six games, he has not looked the same since rush­ing back from an an­kle in­jury six weeks ago.

But he says he will be fresher and more ex­pe­ri­enced go­ing into this sum­mer’s World Cup than he was two years ago, when he had a dis­ap­point­ing tour­na­ment as Eng­land crashed out to Ice­land.

Kane had barely rested in two years, hav­ing played every game in Eng­land’s Euro­pean un­der 21 cam­paign the pre­vi­ous sum­mer, and looked tired at Euro 2016.

But now he says: “I think this sum­mer I will be fresher. That was my first tour­na­ment, so there were a lot of emo­tions and ex­pec­ta­tions, just that feel­ing of get­ting to know what it would be like. Hav­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence will help as well and I def­i­nitely feel bet­ter this time.”

He and his Tot­ten­ham team-mates have looked jaded in re­cent weeks, but qual­i­fied for the Cham­pi­ons League for the third sea­son run­ning when Kane’s goal beat New­cas­tle last Mon­day.

That was his 43rd goal in 51 games for club and coun­try this sea­son.

“Ob­vi­ously I had a good rest last sum­mer. This year has been a tough year, with all the com­pe­ti­tions we played in.

“But I’m feel­ing good. I’m feel­ing like any­one would at this stage of the sea­son but there is plenty of time to re­cover and get ready for the World Cup.”

Kane pays par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to his fit­ness and diet, and will not let up in the com­ing weeks. Tot­ten­ham’s sea­son fin­ishes to­day and he said: “We get a week off be­fore we meet up with Eng­land and I’m go­ing to go away with my wife and re­lax. I’ ll tick over, ob­vi­ously, not just go­ing to have a week with­out do­ing any­thing but it’s more about re­lax­ing men­tally, play­ing a bit of golf and spend­ing some time with my wife — she’ll want that.

“Then we’ll meet up with Eng­land and have four days to­gether, pre­pare for the friendlies and get ready.”

Gareth South­gate names his squad this Wed­nes­day ahead of friendlies against Nige­ria and Costa Rica be­fore fly­ing to Rus­sia on June 12.

Kane says his ex­pe­ri­ence from two years ago will help. “At the time you think you are do­ing ev­ery­thing right, but who knows? The main thing for me is to make sure I pre­pare well, re­cover well, make sure I’m stretch­ing, eat­ing the right stuff and just giv­ing my­self the best pos­si­bil­ity to play well. You get a bit of time be­fore games, maybe three or four days. It’s not like a week be­tween each game.”

He knows ex­pec­ta­tion will be high, both of him and Eng­land. “It’s the World Cup and you can’t ex­pect to go with­out any pres­sure. Every team faces it and we are no dif­fer­ent. The dif­fer­ence is that this year we have a younger team, a more in­ex­pe­ri­enced team, so maybe the ex­pec­ta­tion is not so big.

“But Rus­sia is still im­por­tant. We have to try to pre­pare and do our best and see what hap­pens.”

The 24-year-old’s ear­li­est World Cup mem­o­ries are from 2002, when Eng­land lost in the quar­ter-fi­nals to Brazil. “I re­mem­ber [los­ing to] Brazil af­ter go­ing 1-0 up, and a few other games.” Eng­land beat Ar­gentina with a David Beck­ham penalty af­ter Michael Owen was fouled by Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino, now Kane’s man­ager. “Ha, the gaffer’s foul,” he laughs. “The 2002 World Cup was my first real mem­ory so it is re­ally ex­cit­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence it for my­self.

“The Eu­ros is big but the World Cup is the next step. It is prob­a­bly the big­gest com­pe­ti­tion in sport and I’m just ex­cited to be in it.”

Be­fore that he wants to end the sea­son on a high. “Get­ting 30 league goals is def­i­nitely the aim. I al­ways try to im­prove every year and it was 29 last year so to reach 30 is im­por­tant.

“The Golden Boot is still there but who knows? It is good that the pres­sure is off so hope­fully we can go and play freely and score a few goals. We’ll try to do the same as last year. (Kane scored four in a 6-1 win at Le­ices­ter last May). It is about get­ting to that 30-goal mark for me.”

‘It is re­ally ex­cit­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence it for my­self’

Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur striker Harry Kane needs to score four goals against Le­ices­ter City to­day to stand a chance of win­ning the Pre­mier League’s Golden Boot

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