Not ideal start but Kane not fretting over goal drought

Harry Kane, in training ahead of tonight's Euro 2016 qualifier, will hope to be on the scoresheet for England against San Marino.
Harry Kane, in training ahead of tonight's Euro 2016 qualifier, will hope to be on the scoresheet for England against San Marino.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • If Harry Kane is troubled by his barren start to the season, confidence seeping away and experiencing the kind of pressure to which he seemed immune last season, it is fair to say he disguised it well on Thursday as he appeared before the media and questions started about his form.

Four games without netting hardly constitutes a drought. And there were three other occasions last season when the Tottenham Hotspur forward went just as long without scoring, en route to a 31-goal haul that has established him now as a mandatory pick for Roy Hodgson's England squad.

The 22-year-old also made a fairytale debut strike for England against Lithuania in March.

His most revealing line was that a one-on-one opportunity he wasted against Everton last weekend was "the first real chance I've had all season when I'd say I probably should have scored".

That was not a criticism of his Tottenham team-mates but it was a relevant detail at a time when he is being described as short of confidence in front of goal.

Kane may not have scored but his argument is that he has not missed a hatful of chances either.

"I should have scored from that chance," he said. "But as a striker, you are going to get chances where you miss and, after that, it is about how you cope.

"Some strikers go down a bad path and lose their confidence but not me."

Kane did accept that his start to the season "could have been better". There was also some advice from Alan Shearer, an England striker of old, when they took part in a charity match recently.

"He just said that you are going to go through games without scoring but the best strikers in the world just put it to the back of their mind and focus on the next chance or goal, " Kane said.

The dreaded phrase that is threatening to fasten itself to Kane, with only two goals in 13 appearances since his senior England debut, is of being a one-season wonder.

Yet, he is probably entitled to think it is wholly premature even asking that at such an early stage of the new campaign.

"I don't think last year was lucky. I worked very hard to get where I was but I think it was always going to be the case (people would say that) because I came on the scene so unexpectedly," he said.

San Marino, in today's Euro 2016 qualifier, should be obliging opponents for a striker needing a goal.

With his form under close scrutiny, Kane said he is fortunate to be able to call on England star Wayne Rooney for advice.

"When you look at someone like Wayne - doing it year in, year out, playing for club and country and doing so well - it shows it can be done," the young forward said.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'Not ideal start but Kane not fretting over goal drought'. Print Edition | Subscribe