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England: Gareth Southgate praises ‘brilliant’ Harry Kane after striker breaks record


Gareth Southgate hailed hat-trick hero Harry Kane as the striker fired England to virtual World Cup qualification.

Barring an unthinkable defeat to worst ranked team on the planet San Marino on Sunday, the Three Lions can start preparing for Qatar 2022 following their comprehensive win over Albania.

Kane, who has had a below-par start to the season with Tottenham, scored a hat-trick to come England’s all-time leading scorer in competitive fixtures with 39, overtaking Wayne Rooney’s previous record of 37.

The England boss waxed lyrical about his team’ overall performance but reserved special praise for his start striker, who took his total tally of England goals to 44.

‘Form is always temporary,’ Southgate said in response to questions about Kane’s troubles at club level.

‘What pleased me most was his all round performance because he is always going to score goals, we know that.

‘But he was really on song tonight. I thought Harry gave a brilliant centre forward’s performance – held the ball up, played other people in.

‘But I thought it was very strong team performance. I think we had an edge about us and we are at our best with an edge.

‘We wanted a collective response from the last game (where we drew 1-1 very Hungary) and we’ve spoken about that all week.

‘We addressed that tonight, it’s hard to pick out any individuals.’ Southgate confirmed he will make changes for Monday’s clash in San Marino, but will be without Mason Mount (dental) and Luke Shaw (concussion).

‘We will make a decision on the team, we want to put a performance that is level as it is tonight and finish strongly.’ Kane himself added: ‘Whenever I score I seem to be sharp, whenever I don’t I’m not sharp anymore. That is part and parcel of being a striker. The most important thing is we are moving forward as a team.

‘Great night for the team first and foremost. An important result for us and just the way we went about it. To go 5-0 at half time shows the character of the squad.’

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