Right now, Harry Kane can do no wrong. He is in the form of his life, and is consistently finding the back of the net with the authority of someone who is internationally respected as a proven goal scorer.
After his two goals against Liverpool in Tottenham’s highly polished 4-1 performance, Kane has now scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, with seven of those coming in the Premier League.
An even greater indication of his phenomenal scoring record at the moment is the fact that Kane has now scored 38 domestic goals in total in 2017 with a staggering 29 of these coming in the league.
To put this into perspective, Lionel Messi has scored 46 in all domestic competitions in 2017 so far, whilst Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 33 goals in 36 domestic matches this year. Kane is therefore in the mix with the very best when it comes to his club statistics.
Such stats are reflective of a player who could easily be classified as world-class. Indeed, Kane has won consecutive golden boots in what is widely regarded as the greatest and most competitive league in the world. Moreover, he already looks well-set to challenge for a third in a row.
It is undoubtedly clear that Kane is England’s main striker, but is he England’s only genuinely world-class player, and can he himself be labelled such a glittering attribution? He is clearly key to England’s success at the moment, with Lithuania’s manager Edgaras Jankauskas saying with tongue-in-cheek that the best way to stop Kane, before England’s recent 1-0 win, would be to prevent him from being let into the stadium.
The only player that could also potentially be recognised as having world-class talent is Dele Alli, who at 21 is clearly still raw, and who is developing before he reaches his full potential. Alli needs to eradicate the nonsense that can often infiltrate into his game as well, whether this is diving, bad challenges or getting into petty scuffles for instance.
Yet, although he is not yet at the peak of his game, Alli is already impressing for Tottenham, as shown by his 18 goals from midfield in the Premier League last season. Alli is almost guaranteed to start for England in Russia for the World Cup, yet there are heavy expectations on young shoulders. Alli is yet to reach the levels for England that he can do for Spurs. During Euro 2016, Alli was ineffective, and looked burnt-out, after a long season with Tottenham. He will need back-up in Russia.
As for Kane, he also needs to perform on the biggest stage, such as the World Cup, to fully justify being called a world-class player. His performances, like every other England player, were not good enough during the European Championships, with his set pieces in particular coming in for criticism. Kane has not yet won a major trophy in his career, albeit he still has plenty of time at the age of 24.
Overall, that is the concerning thing about England’s squad. There is a serious lack of experience when it comes to winning trophies, particularly regarding non-domestic accolades such as the Champions League.
The squad can be forgiven for this because it is generally tender, with exciting young players such as Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli and Harry Winks emerging. Yet, the English do not have the winning mentality that other nations possess, and therefore it is too far to claim an England player is genuinely world-class.
Harry Kane is certainly delivering week-in-week-out in the English league, but it is only if he wins a major tournament, that he can truly be recognised as one of the world’s best. Players such as Messi, Neymar, Suarez and Ronaldo have tasted Champions League glory for example. The question of whether Kane can perform when the pressure is really intense remains unanswered.