England striker Harry Kane is confident he can handle the weight of expectation upon him – but is also glad he has Wayne Rooney to turn to for advice.
Kane notched 31 goals for Tottenham as well as netting on his senior international debut in a major breakthrough season last term.
However, he has joined England ahead of tomorrow’s Euro 2016 qualifier in San Marino without scoring in 2015-16 and with Spurs’ failure to sign Saido Berahino meaning the emphasis on him leading the club’s forward line looks as great as ever.
When asked about being under increased scrutiny following his 2014-15 exploits, Kane, 22, said: “I think that was always going to be the case.
“You are going to go through spells where you are on fire and everything you touch turns to goals, and others when it doesn’t go your way.
“But I’m very focused and confident in my own ability. I know if I keep doing the right things, the goals will come.
“I need to try not to worry about the outside part of the game.”
England and Manchester United captain Rooney – hoping to become his country’s record goalscorer this weekend – recently broke his duck for the season with a hat-trick against Club Brugge.
Regarding his fellow frontman, Kane said: “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.
“I need to use that experience for my game. It can only help me move forward.
“I’m sure I will get to talk to him while the week goes – to pick his brain, seeing how he has dealt with it and what he has done to keep in good shape over all those years, and try to use that to help me.”
Rooney has 48 England goals, one behind Sir Bobby Charlton on the all-time list.
Asked about the prospect of the 29-year-old reaching the landmark, Kane said: “Hopefully, he can break the record on this trip.
“He is an incredible talent, a world-class player and trains very hard to be where he is.
“It is great to be able to train with him, talk to him and learn from him. He is an all-round top player and top man.”
Kane heads into tomorrow’s game and Tuesday’s home qualifier against Switzerland with his last international action having been England Under-21s’ disappointing campaign at June’s Euro 2015 finals in the Czech Republic.
He feels it was beneficial for him despite the team finishing bottom of their group, and insists it has not hindered his fitness for the new season – despite Tottenham chief Mauricio Pochettino recently suggesting he was suffering with fatigue.
“I had a few weeks off after the tournament and I’ve come back in good shape – I feel as fit as ever,” said Kane.
“I am 100 per cent healthy. I think my game hasn’t dropped compared to last season in terms of the distance I’ve run.”
England, victors in all six of their qualifiers, can have their Euro 2016 place sealed tomorrow and Kane added: “It will be a great achievement, but exactly what we were looking to do.
“We want to win all 10 qualifiers, then take that form into the Euros.
“We are not taking our foot off the pedal – if anything, we are putting it down more, trying to improve even more for the tournament.”
England’s latest crop of new recruits for the next generation began their journey with a 1-0 friendly win against the United States’ Under-23 side in Preston North End.
Of the 11 debutants over the course of the evening it was Manchester United’s James Wilson who made his mark with a poacher’s close-range finish 10 minutes after coming off the bench.
The 19-year-old has already scored four times in 18 senior appearances at Old Trafford .