Harry Kane is quiet captain of England’s loud World Cup squad

The captain has made a lasting impact as the Three Lions aim for their first World Cup title since 1966.

(Cookie Moon for The Washington Post)


LONDON – What if? What if England, who have been wandering in the desert of light since 1966, manage to pull a long-awaited second World Cup title out of an unlikely pit in Qatar? No, wait: What if, after all the beautiful England captains from the eighties to the teens, such as Bryan Robson, Alan Shearer, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, among others, England finally won with this collection of Harry Potter’s terrifying goals. to be Kane?

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It’s also why people sometimes sat in think tanks like pubs, coffee shops and press rooms and described Kane as boring.

“I’m afraid I don’t agree with the ‘boring’ argument at all,” Peter Drury, NBC’s new English voice of the Premier League, said recently while riding on the motorway between Manchester and Leicester. “I wouldn’t call him boring. I call him tenacious. He is a steady influence. To be a football player, you don’t need to be bright, you don’t need to be a pop star.”

It turns out you can even imagine one of Drury’s weirdest points about Kane: He does one of humanity’s most fascinating feats, scoring goals without conceding them. That’s 195 Premier League goals (third all-time), 51 England goals and counting (second all-time behind Rooney) and zero looks at me.

“I think we need that,” Drury said, “and that’s not to denigrate what’s happened before.”

Kane may be what fans often say they want (quiet quest) but often don’t (in favor of glamor and potential scandal). But: “I think the fans in England have a lot of respect for him,” Drury said, “because he’s a bit different to previous captains because in a sense he’s not an obvious captain” but just “a. really a a good professional guy who does his job, goes home and is on the back page of the newspaper, not the front page, doesn’t cause any scandal and does his job very, very well.”

Well, in some ways, England has a few four-year-olds drowning in its charms.

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Ever since England 4, Germany 2, in extra time to 96,924 at Wembley Stadium on July 30, 1966, England have been the world’s leading sport’s pre-eminent inventors and squeezed into the quarter-finals or later. It has not played in any subsequent finals. It was only played in the next two semi-finals, Italy 1990 and Russia 2018, so rare that when it finally happened again, the fans’ version of “God Save the Queen” seemed to be playing at Samara Airport in Russia at 3am. . more zing.

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That team, managed by Gareth Southgate and captained by Kane, fell to Croatia in the semi-finals but left with a sense of promise boosted by a run to the Euro 2020 final against Italy. The latter came with home-field advantage, but still, the hope is more measured in a cohesive team and less marinated in starlight.

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“The first day of leadership [in 2011], the previous chairman was standing,” said Ian Marshall, chairman of Ridgeway Rovers’ youth organisation, for whom baby Kane and formerly baby Beckham played. “There was a young 17-year-old recently signed by Tottenham Hotspur. , professional terms, following a scholarship named after Harry Kane. So he went out. And at first, some parents lamented that they had never heard of him. My point was, I don’t care if you’ve never heard of him…”

The idea was for Kane to present a gift and maybe even “give [the kids] the belief that one day they can do the same.”

“So that got my back a little bit,” Marshall said.

Perhaps that moment illuminates Kane’s ultimate social value, the idea that the Museum of London is putting on a Kane exhibition this year as a lesson for children, the idea that if a career blossoming with age doesn’t work, it still can. Loans soon followed, deepening the scandal: to Leyton Orient (18 games, 2011), to Millwall (22 games, 2012), to Norwich City (three games, 2012-13), to Leicester City (13 games, 2013). Kane told former England captain Rio Ferdinand in an interview in 2016: “Yes, it was difficult because you feel like if I’m not playing for Leicester or Norwich, how am I going to do for Spurs? But I’m after I returned to their debt and said: “This is the season I will fight.”

The US men’s World Cup squad will play group favorites Wales, Iran and England in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

Blooming like that, blooming like crazy. It came on a big New Year’s Day in 2015, the day he scored a hat-trick in Tottenham’s stunning 5-3 home win over Chelsea, the arrival of such outstanding confidence that the Guardian’s Barney Ronay described a player who simply refuses to he was surprised. find your level, climb high, look down and feel for the first time in five months of a meteoric rise from an average man to the most influential English striker playing the game now…” The caption, showing a photo of Marshall, read: “Loan , Loan, Loan, Loan, Lane (White Hart, home of Tottenham), Lyon (England), Leader, Legend,” with the legend perhaps poised for further growth.

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It grew despite the great hype that continues to this day: Kane, unlike other captains, has not played in any championship, with Tottenham since 1961 the League One title, the FA Cup title since 1991, the Champions League title didn’t have There is less beauty there.

Interestingly, Kane’s visit was relatively small. From the stadium where the older Kane works, you can walk without a murmur to the area where the baby Kane started, where passers-by could see him running. It is about four miles over small bridges, across the highway, down odd wooded paths, around the upper and right corners of London. You can start with the people lined up outside the stadium for the Lady Gaga show, turn around and see central London in the distance, and sometimes settle in the edge of Chingford’s terraced houses in the modest garden behind the pub.

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In that park, near the forest, there is a dilapidated target that a father and two sons are hitting. Marshall says both Beckham (b. 1975) and Kane (b. 1993) kicked it there, among other places. They each attended Chingford Foundation School, which looks like a movie high school along a residential street. Other Chingford stars include Teddy Sheringham, a mainstay with a 24-year professional career and 51 caps for England. The famous gangster twins lie where most gangsters go (the graveyard). Winston Churchill once represented part of this area as a Member of Parliament. Another, like London itself, is an area with a remarkable mix of cultures and income levels, an area with Arsenal’s glittering youth academy and an area where a program like Ridgway Rovers has to think hard and constantly budget.

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From there, two captains of the same look, almost humorously, came. Where the great crosser Beckham, the captain of England, has always had his charm, and while in the 2000s it was impossible to shop without seeing him in the tabloids, the great goalscorer Kane, the captain of England, is actually even on the edge of handsome. does not eat . Beckham married a pop star, Kane married his high school sweetheart. Beckham’s glamor goes off the pitch, Kane’s glamor stops off the pitch. Kane can be great and underrated, Beckham great and overrated. Back in the 2000s, there was a Beckham tour around Chingford that you could have done with tourists from Japan, while the idea of ​​a Kane tour might seem far-fetched (now).

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“Harry Kane clearly didn’t create that level of celebrity,” Drury said. “He feels like an ordinary guy. And that’s probably what draws him to English society… There’s not that kind of instinctive charisma. He’s just one of us. He just does what he’s asked to do. He does it very quietly and calmly.”

“With Harry,” Marshall said, “the fame is different because he’s not one of those guys who’s going to go out and sell a brand of aftertaste or a sharp suit or whatever. Beckham, you know, the word guy who’s on the podium because he obviously has the catwalk look, I guess. And things like that. And Harry’s a little more down to earth. He gets a lot of money from his sponsors, but obviously the ones they get paid from are probably what you’d expect him to get paid for. get, sports companies and things like that which makes sense. Where Beckham likes to put his name on everything.

“Maybe there is a difference between the two. And that’s why Americans know [Beckham more].”

Now a fast-paced team has a quiet lead in a fragmented World Cup with little time to prepare. Now it’s an England with Southgate and Kane, whose consistency, Drury said, has “reduced the weight of England’s fragile shirt.” Now it’s the captain who has to “wait his turn”, said Drury, has to “sit on the Spurs bench longer than he expected and when his moment came he made the most of it.” Why, it is “a maxim for life,” as Drury put it. Maybe it’s vanilla, and it’s definitely patterned.


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