Kane knows he needs to score to be seen in August company

Striker Harry Kane is happy to see the back of August after his inability to score a Premier League goal in that month continued.
Striker Harry Kane is happy to see the back of August after his inability to score a Premier League goal in that month continued.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Harry Kane admits he is glad that England's World Cup qualifier against Malta falls today, after the Tottenham Hotspur star suffered another barren August.

He has never scored a Premier League goal in August, a surprising statistic for a player who has won the league's Golden Boot - given to the competition's top scorer - two years in a row.

He has hit the woodwork multiple times this term but has yet to find the net in matches against Newcastle, Chelsea and Burnley and is glad to be turning the calendar page for England's World Cup qualifier.

"Obviously, for some reason the ball doesn't seem to go in in August. Who knows why?" he said. "I haven't scored in August yet, so there is still room for improvement.

"I feel like I am in a good place physically at the moment, so that's good. My job now is to try to score for England in the next two games and go from there. The Malta game is on Sept 1, so we've all had a little joke about it."

England are two points clear at the top of Uefa Group F and can take a giant step towards qualification by beating minnows Malta and then defeating closest rivals Slovakia at Wembley on Monday.

Gareth Southgate's side would be even closer to their objective had it not been for a chaotic finish to their last group game against Scotland in June, when Kane's stoppage-time equaliser rescued a 2-2 draw. England have won just one of their last five matches, including the Hampden stalemate.

Injuries have deprived Southgate of Tottenham left-back Danny Rose and Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana, while Wayne Rooney's international career has come to an end at his own behest.

But the squad is otherwise well stocked, meaning Southgate can use today's game in Malta to hone defensive partnerships and test attacking configurations.

"This is a very difficult match against England as they are the best team," said Malta coach Pietro Ghedin. "But I bank on the players' pride to try and give everything they have as that is our only tool of trying to upset our opponents."

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MALTA V ENGLAND
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2017, with the headline 'Kane knows he needs to score to be seen in August company'. Print Edition | Subscribe