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England vs. Lithuania: Harry Kane the story in Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley

26 Mar | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
England vs. Lithuania: Harry Kane the story in Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley

The Spurs man's presence in Roy Hodgson's squad has created a buzz, but can he live up to the hype?

Whisper it, but there’s an unusual buzz around the England camp this week. It’s not really down to the fixtures that punctuate this international fortnight – although the friendly with Italy that follows Friday evening’s Euro 2016 qualifying date with Lithuania promises to be an intriguing battle. It’s not because the Three Lions’ biggest players are in especially amazing form, even if Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney have caught the eye in recent weeks. And it’s not down to the return of Michael Carrick – that composer at the punk gig – to the squad.

No, the excitement can be explained by the presence of one man and one man alone. A man who, in the words of Tottenham fans, is one of our own. A man who looks like a rail worker or a bootlegger or shoe-shine boy from another time. A man who, barely a few months ago, would have been roundly laughed at had he predicted a future in which he was an England player.

Harry Kane, it is fair to say, has had a bit of a year. Having bludgeoned his way into the First Team frame at the end of last season, the striker has gone from strength to strength under Mauricio Pochettino. The journey from European understudy to Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado (how amusing that hierarchy looks in hindsight) to undisputed White Hart Lane talisman has been meteoric.

His stats since the turn of the year make for staggering reading: 14 Premier League goals in 11 games, plus three assists. There is even a groundswell of support for him to be named Footballer of the Year… although Diego Costa may have something to say about that as Chelsea move towards the title.

There has not been this kind of hype over a potential England debutant since Wayne Rooney and an injury to Daniel Sturridge means that Kane may well start alongside the England captain at Wembley. You have to think that that pairing – with their barrelling strength and finishing ability – would pose problems to defences far stronger than that of Lithuania, who conceded four against Switzerland in their last qualifier.

All in all, this looks an eminently winnable game for the Three Lions, who will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to Group E. It should be the perfect opportunity for Kane to translate his club form into a dream start for his country.