HARRY KANE accepts he must now become Captain Marvel for both England Spurs.
Against Bulgaria at the Vasil Levski National Stadium tonight, there will potentially be a massive amount of pressure on Kane on and off the pitch.
1 Harry Kane must now step up as captain of club and country
Firstly, Kane must help ensure his team overcomes the carcrash of Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic in their sixth Group A game.
The Three Lions skipper has spoken to the team following the abysmal performance in Prague. While Kane will be hoping the midfield give him far more ammunition than three nights ago.
Yet at a venue which will be partially closed as punishment for racist home fans, Kane could also be forced to take a lead role in a situation which could see the players forced off the pitch.
And if that is not enough, after England return home, Kane must focus on the implosion at Spurs while he will now take the armband after the injury to Hugo Lloris.
Kane scored his 27th international goal from the penalty spot on Friday and it was his 20th as England captain – the same number as former skipper Alan Shearer and Bryan Robson.
Another goal tonight will see Kane go past Shearer and Robson — although Vivian Woodward’s 23 goals as skipper up to 1911 is the national record.
Passing that mark would be a small piece of history but Kane has his eyes on far bigger stuff at Euro2020.
Accepting the pressure is definitely on, he said: “I kind of just take that responsibility. I have been doing it for a while now. It doesn't help when you don't win like the game on Friday night because it feels like you carry those losses with you and as players you want to win every game.
“From my point of view, I'm with the captain role at England and take that responsibility on, obviously I will be captain at Spurs for however long Hugo is out.
“But I have said before that my game doesn't change, my personality doesn't change. I am still the same person, I still try and lead by example on and off the pitch and I will continue to do that.
“I have been in high pressure situations before in my career, whether that is going through goal droughts, playing in high-pressure games or not playing well as a team.
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“It is something I will take in my stride and improve on.
“It is a long, old season for club and country ahead – a lot of games to be played so there are going to be tough periods. We are also in one now as a club. Hopefully we can win Monday night for England and that will put Friday night less impactful and then I will go back to Spurs and take that in my stride and see how that progresses.”
While the defence was a shambles, it was also a tough night in Prague for Declan Rice, Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho.
Confirming he spoke to them before the squad ended their three-night stay in the Czech Republic yesterday afternoon, Kane said: “The best way to do it with the young lads in the team is not to talk about individual performances but the group and players know when they have played well and when they haven’t.
“For me, it has just been about keeping everyone’s energy high and not letting anybody get down on themselves and thinking it is the end of the world.
“It was important to stay calm, the day after we all obviously knew it was a disappointing night, a night where we could definitely have been better than that.
“But when you have got a game two days later you can't dwell on that and bring negative energy in to the camp.”
As for continuing his goals record while skipper, Kane added: “As one of the leaders in the team and as a striker, I want to score goals and help the team in that way. It has worked out pretty well since I have been captain. But it is not just me who has to lead, there are other players in the team that definitely do that.”
You can only hope that we are talking about England moving a step closer to Euro2020 rather than more embarrassing behaviour from racist football supporters.
Kane spoke at the team meeting a week ago when the players were told about the three-step protocol which could lead to the game being abandoned if there is sustained racism.
He added: “I’d rather keep the meeting private. It was a conversation about the stuff that might happen here. It might not, as I said in there.
“Hopefully it doesn’t and we get on with the game and we win it and everybody is happy.
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“There is a protocol that Uefa have put in place which as a captain I have a little bit of a responsibility in.
“Nobody is expecting it to happen, we are focusing on the game. But we will cross that bridge if we come to it.”