King Kane: England's New Torchbearer and Golden Boot Winner?
The supposedly one season wonder Harry Kane has already proved in the English Premier league that he is the best centre-forward in the country.
However, there are critics in some parts who still do not feel he falls in the world-class category due to the fact that he has never won a title with Tottenham. Kane is not new to criticism and his detractors have always been present since his first breakthrough season in the 2014-15 campaign.
Many felt he would fall to the second year syndrome but the Tottenham forward just went from strength to strength and has defied his critics time and again. The fact that he is a 3 time Golden Boot winner in the Premier League and helped Tottenham finish in the Champions League places in each of the last 3 seasons is no mean feat.
Hence, when Gareth Southgate decided to make him the captain for the World Cup, there were hardly any criticisms coming his way. Kane is the epitome of this England side which is certainly hungry and fearless.
The fact that he has 6 goals already to his name in this World Cup gives him an excellent opportunity to attain some personal glory and announce his arrival on the world stage. His critics would state that 3 of his 6 goals were penalties but they still had to be put away.
If someone wants to denounce the value of goals scored through penalties, just look at the famous list of players who missed them in this tournament. Ronaldo, Messi, Modric and even his Tottenham mate Eriksen missed their spot kicks at various moments during the course of the tournament.
This is not to say that Kane will never miss a penalty but to state that when his team needed him the most, albeit penalties, he has always delivered. Apart from the two times he scored his spot kicks against Colombia, his hold up play against the South American nation was one of great maturity and the sign of a player who is immensely confident in his own abilities.
The match certainly had its controversial moments. Players of both teams ran the risk of leaving their team one player short but Kane was one of the few who kept his calm and allowed his game to do the talking.
Comparatively, England have a favourable draw this time around in spite of finishing second in their group. Although this World Cup has thrown its fair share of surprises,a possible semifinal clash against fellow dark horses Croatia may prove England's only major obstacle from reaching a World Cup Final in over 50 years.
England certainly failed in 2014 and 2016 in the most dramatic of circumstances and they would be wary of that prior to playing Sweden. However, under a new and hungry manager on the sidelines and one of the best centre-forwards in the world leading them on the pitch, this may well be their best tournament in the last 50 odd years.