Slovakia vs England: Harry Kane pledges to prove his doubters wrong as dry stretch continues on Sam Allardyce bow
Tottenham forward Kane saw his international goal drought extend to six games before being substituted in the closing stages of England’s 1-0 World Cup qualification victory against Slovakia on Sunday.
The 23-year-old, whose last England goal came against Turkey at the Etihad Stadium in May, was selected ahead of Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge to play as a lone centre-forward by manager Sam Allardyce in Trnava.
But despite suffering another frustrating evening with England, Kane insists his ability to dispel his ‘one-season wonder’ label last season underlines his readiness to prove a point again with England.
“Unfortunately there was a lot of talk last year and I managed to prove a lot of people wrong,” Kane said. “People will talk this year as well, but it’s part of football.
“It’s what they are doing, but I am confident in my ability and I know that if I continue doing what I am doing, the goals will come. That is all I can do.
“I think I didn’t score in my first 7 or 8 games for Spurs last season, but I then went on to win the Golden Boot. That proves that it was just a matter of time.
“People might talk now or if I don’t score in the next five or six games, but it doesn’t bother me.
“I am a confident player. I know if I keep doing what I am doing I will score goals and that is what I am going to do.”
England player ratings vs Slovakia
Joe Hart – 6 out of 10
Little to do for the Torino loanee and, one imagines, that is exactly the sort of afternoon Manchester City’s forgotten man needed.
Kyle Walker – 6 out of 10
Galloped down the right-flank with intent but was often found exposed once possession was lost deep into the hosts’ half.
John Stones – 6 out of 10
The Manchester City defender was rarely tested but did look fragile on occasion as Slovak attackers charged at the England back-line in the first-half.
Gary Cahill – 6 out of 10
An inconspicuous display from the Chelsea defender without many mishaps but also lacking in moments for the highlights reel.
Danny Rose – 6 out of 10
Gave the ball away cheaply in the first-half which very nearly surrendered an early goal on Sam Allardyce’s big day.
Eric Dier – 7 out of 10
Provided a well-needed anchor in midfield and cut up play when required but was unable to provide the springboard for forays into the Slovakia half.
Jordan Henderson – 6 out of 10
Was subbed in the second-half, for Dele Alli, after an assured, if unremarkable, display in the first period.
Raheem Sterling – 6 out of 10
Keen to impress, the Manchester City winger was unable to replicate his fine club form on the international stage again – but not for a want of trying.
Wayne Rooney – 6 out of 10
Sat too deep to pose any degree of threat going forwards and often seemed too sanguine whenever he did venture into the final third. Controlled the tempo of the match.
Harry Kane – 6 out of 10
Cut an isolated figure for large periods as Sterling and Lallana struggled to carve out any openings of note during a turgid affair in Trnava.
Adam Lallana – 8 out of 10
Was a menace on the flanks in short intervals and ultimately scored a fine, if slightly fortuitous, winner to get the ball rolling on Allardyce’s new dawn as England boss.
OFF THE BENCH: Daniel Sturridge – 5 out of 10
Was afforded with too little time to make a true impact but nonetheless wasted a chance to be the hero by making a late run for Walcott’s deep cross with moments to spare.
Theo Walcott – 6 out of 10
Spurned a fine opportunity to open the scoring from close range after Lallana’s adventurous shot had hit the post. Woke his team-mates up.
Dele Alli – 7 out of 10
Provided the spark England so badly lacked in the opening exchanges, ultimately leading to an unlikely winner at the end,
Having topped the Premier League scoring charts with 25 goals last season, Kane secured his status as England’s first-choice forward ahead of Euro 2016.
Kane was forced to play a more isolated role with England, one which has continued under Allardyce, but he claims he enjoyed the outing against Slovakia and has no qualms over the demands placed on him at international level.
“I feel good and I felt sharp out there,” he said. “It was a hard fought, there were a few challenges flying
about and sometimes when you are up there, you have just go to work hard for the team and try and get into good positions.
“I felt I did that and I felt in the second half, I had a couple of chance that got blocked and a couple of half chances, but all I can do is put myself in the right positions.
“We have got the players to put the balls in and create chances and all I can do is my best for the team.
“It was a tough game with the heat and the running, but I am getting fitter and fitter.
“Obviously I had a shorter pre-season, but I am confident, I am always confident. Hopefully I can score at the weekend, but if not, we will see what happens.”
With Group F minnows Malta due at Wembley next month, ahead of a trip to Slovenia three days later, England have the opportunity to boost their goals output in Allardyce’s first game on home turf.
And Kane admits that he is ready to use the opportunity to take advantage against the Maltese.
“As a striker I want to get goals, it doesn’t matter who I am playing,” he said. “I didn’t score on Sunday, but I felt we all put in a good shift for the team and worked hard for each other.
“Hopefully, if I am picked for the next game, I can get a few goals.”