TOTTENHAM striker Harry Kane fully deserves to win his first England cap next month but I have a problem with talk of the likes of Saido Berahino, Danny Ings and Charlie Austin gatecrashing the squad too.
There is so much to like about Kane. As he showed with both goals in Saturday’s north London derby, the 21-year-old can make the difference in big games. And he is consistent: that brace took his tally to 22 for the season.
Kane has a great all-round game. He has the strength needed to lead the line on his own, as he has been doing for Spurs, but can also drop off to link play, and has guile, sophistication and technique. He finds space in the penalty area, and his execution of the winning header against Arsenal – the way he got up early and met the cross at the split-second required – was as good as any you’ll see anywhere.
I like his temperament. He seems a really grounded individual who doesn’t get flustered and is not involved in any diving or histrionics. He is content to be at Spurs and it shows.
And therein lies the key: Kane is at a big club, and that’s how we know he can handle international football, unlike some other English forwards who have impressed during the current campaign.
Half a season of playing well in the top flight shouldn’t be enough to play for England. Kane may be in the same position but at least he is doing it at Tottenham, because there is a difference.
Berahino has, on the face of it, the most international potential of the others, but he still needs to be tested at a bigger club, where each game comes with expectation.
Ings is not used to fighting for his place. Kane is keeping Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor out of his club side. With all due respect to Burnley’s squad players, who is Ings restricting to the bench?
As for Austin, there is something of the Rickie Lambert about him. He has an eye for goal, a sniffers’ instinct, but I don’t see that he has that something special – the magic dust – needed at international level.
So for the next England squad, for a Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania and a friendly with Italy, I’d have Kane in alongside the familiar trio of Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.
I think Sturridge needs more games before he’s ready to start for England, so Kane could take his place for both games, though should definitely do so for the friendly at the very least.
These games are coming at an ideal time for him, and England could even use Tottenham’s 4-2-3-1 system, with Raheem Sterling, Rooney and Theo Walcott forming a trio behind him.
Trevor Steven is a former England international who played at two World Cups and two European Championships. He now works as a media commentator.