Kane stokes Scottish rivalry

England's Harry Kane having a lighter moment with club team-mate Dele Alli (right) ahead of today's World Cup qualifier against old foes Scotland. The England striker, coming off a second season in which he won the Premier League's Golden Boot, will
England's Harry Kane having a lighter moment with club team-mate Dele Alli (right) ahead of today's World Cup qualifier against old foes Scotland. The England striker, coming off a second season in which he won the Premier League's Golden Boot, will hope to bring his Tottenham form to the international stage.PHOTO: REUTERS

England striker believes World Cup qualifier will be a 'passionate' game

LONDON • Harry Kane believes the years have done nothing to dull the rivalry between England and Scotland ahead of today's World Cup qualifier between the old foes in Glasgow.

Starting with their first encounter in November 1872, the neighbours faced off almost every year until 1984, when the British Home Championship was abolished.

Their meetings since have been scarce and with Scotland having not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, a gulf has emerged between the teams.

But England striker Kane, speaking at a pre-match conference, insists: "I still think it means something.

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"It's like maybe playing for your club in derbies, it's the same sort of feelings. We definitely know how much it means to everyone and it means a lot to us as well.

"It's important that we go out there with that mindset. We know it's going to be a very passionate game and we hope we are going to send our fans home happy."

Kane also revealed his dreams of holding aloft the Ballon d'Or trophy like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but the Tottenham striker knows his club must start collecting silverware if he is to have any chance of such individual success.

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    Harry Kane's goals in 17 international matches.

The 23-year-old has won the Premier League Golden Boot for the past two seasons and is the first Spurs player since Jimmy Greaves to have scored more than 20 top-flight goals in three successive campaigns.

"Who wouldn't want to win that big gold trophy? It's definitely something I aspire to do," Kane said.

"Doing that, you have to win the big tournaments, for club and country. Ronaldo won the Euros and the Champions League. Messi's in a similar situation.

"To do that, it isn't just individual, I think it's part of a team thing as well, winning team trophies."

He is in line to make his first England start under manager Gareth Southgate after missing six games through injury.

Fellow striker Jamie Vardy withdrew from the squad on Wednesday owing to a "minor" injury, while captain Wayne Rooney was again overlooked.

Danny Rose's ongoing absence due to a knee problem means Southampton's Ryan Bertrand is likely to keep his place at left-back for England, who are four points clear atop Group F in qualifying for a place in Russia next year.

Scotland, on the other hand, are six points back in fourth place, facing a scrap just to secure a play-off berth.

The Scots were comfortably beaten 3-0 when the teams met at Wembley in November, but Gordon Strachan's men pulled off a precious 1-0 win over third-placed Slovenia on their last outing.

Scotland full-back Kiernan Tierney will wear a gum shield after injuring his mouth during Celtic's Scottish Cup final win over Aberdeen.

Tierney is one of six players from all-conquering league champions Celtic in Scotland's squad and Strachan hopes their presence has a positive impact.

"It would be stupid of me not to use that enthusiasm and that run of games they're on and the pride they've got in themselves," said Strachan of Celtic's treble trophy winners.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'Kane stokes Scottish rivalry'. Print Edition | Subscribe