Enjoy your debut and ignore the reviews, Rooney tells Kane

Wayne Rooney is trailed in training yesterday by Harry Kane, who could possibly partner him tonight for England (Picture:Nick Potts/PA Wire).
Wayne Rooney is trailed in training yesterday by Harry Kane, who could possibly partner him tonight for England (Picture:Nick Potts/PA Wire).
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TO football fans whose focus lies solely with the Premier League, Harry Kane has been something of an overnight sensation.

The reality, however, is that his progress through the England ranks has been a steady and, until lately, unspectacular affair.

Kane has played for every age group from Under-17s to Under-21s, and is tonight expected to make his senior debut when Lithuania come to Wembley for the first European Championship qualifier of 2015.

Along the way, there have been plenty of disappointments to go with the 17 goals the Spurs striker has scored in 33 appearances for the various Three Lions sides.

In 2010, for instance, he helped the Under-17s qualify for the European Championships but then missed, through illness, a tournament that England went on to win.

Two years later, Kane was part of the Under-19s side beaten in the semi-finals of the Euros in Estonia before suffering further dejection as the Under-20s were beaten in the group stage of the 2013 finals.

In the latter, the Spurs striker missed a glaring opportunity against Egypt in the final group game.

It proved the difference between England progressing and going home before the knockout stage.

Kane’s steady progression to the senior set-up has been in stark contrast to how Wayne Rooney arrived on the international stage, the then Everton striker leaping straight from his one and only appearance for the Under-17s to being handed his senior debut by Sven Goran Eriksson at the tender age of just 17.

However, despite these very different routes, Rooney knows exactly how Kane will be feeling ahead of tonight’s match with Lithuania.

“I was impatient for my debut,” said the Manchester United forward yesterday. “Whether it was my England, Everton or Manchester United debut, I wanted to go and play.

“I am sure Harry will be the same. He’ll be lying in bed (last night) hoping that he’ll make his England debut. I can imagine that. I know because I’ve felt the same feeling, the excitement he’ll have.”

Kane, who before this season had just six Premier League starts to his name, has enjoyed a fabulous season.

The 21-year-old has found the net 29 times already, 19 of which have come in the league to leave the Spurs man joint top of the goalscoring charts with Chelsea’s Diego Costa.

Considering how unremarkable loan spells with Millwall, Leyton Orient, Norwich City and Leicester City went as a teenager, his form this term has been nothing short of remarkable.

His challenge now, however, is to transmit that goalscoring knack to the international stage. Rooney, who sits just three short of Bobby Charlton’s all-time England record of 49, has plenty of advice for the Spurs man.

“Enjoy it, first of all,” said the Three Lions captain.

“When you are playing for your country, the one thing you want to do is enjoy it.

“And listen to your friends and family and coaches because, if you start listening to people from the outside or reading too much of what is in the press about how good you want to be or how well you did or didn’t do, it does affect your mind.

“Above all, keep doing what he is doing, concentrate on his football. I am sure he will have a good career if he does that.”