Harry Kane is quiet captain of England’s loud World Cup squad

The captain has been a constant influence as the Three Lions seek their first World Cup title since 1966.

(Cookie Moon at The Washington Post)

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LONDON – What if? And if England, distracted after 1966 the lit desert of glory, will be able to pull that long-sought second World Cup title out of Qatar’s pit of unpredictability? No, wait: What if, after all the impressive England captains from the 1980s to the teenage years, such as Bryan Robson and Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, etc., England finally win with that boring goalscorer Harry Who?

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Also, people occasionally sat in opinion ports such as bars, coffee shops and press rooms and described Kane as boring.

“I’m afraid the ‘boring’ argument doesn’t bite me at all,” Peter Drury, NBC’s new poetic voice of the English Premier League, said on a recent highway drive between Manchester and Leicester. “I don’t call him boring. I call it stable. It is a permanent effect. You don’t have to be flashy, you don’t have to be a pop star to be a footballer.

Turns out, you can even embody the quirk Drury pinpoints about Kane: he does one of the most fascinating feats of the human race, scoring goals without conceding goals. That’s 195 Premier League goals and counting (third all-time), 51 England goals and counting (second all-time behind Rooney) and zero look-at-me.

“I think that’s what we need,” Drury said, “and it’s not to negate what’s gone before.”

Kane may just be what fans often say they want (quiet diligence) but often don’t (for glamor and alleged scandal). But: “I think the England fans basically have a lot of respect for him,” said Drury, “because he’s a little bit different to previous captains because in a way he’s not an obvious captain” but just “a. a really good professional who does his job, comes home and appears on the back page of the newspaper instead of the front, does not cause any scandals and does his job very, very well.

Well, in some ways, England has spent several quadrennials drowning in its own charms.

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Since 1966 July 30 England 4, Germany 2 extra time in front of 96,924 at Wembley Stadium, 1966. On July 30, England became the inventor of the world’s top sport to reach the quarter-finals or earlier. He did not play in any subsequent finals. It was played in just two semi-finals, Italy 1990 and Russia 2018, and it was rare enough that when it finally happened again, the fans’ version of “God Save the Queen” at Samara Airport in Russia at 3am. more zing

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This team, led by the impressive Gareth Southgate and captained by Kane, went down to Croatia in the semi-finals, but left with a sense of promise reinforced in 2020. In the European Championship final against Italy. The latter brought the advantage of his country, but still the hope became more measured in a cohesive team, less pickled in the brilliance of the stars.

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“First day of duty [in 2011], the previous chairman stood up,” said Ian Marshall, chairman of the youth organization Ridgeway Rovers, for which the kid Kane played, and formerly the kid Beckham. “There was a young 17-year-old kid recently signed by Tottenham Hotspur on a professional scholarship called Harry Kane. So he appeared. And at first, some parents lamented that they had never heard of him. In my opinion, I don’t care if you’ve never heard of him…

The idea was for Kane to present the trophy and maybe even ‘give away [the kids] the belief that one day they might aspire to do the same.”

“So that got my back up a little bit,” Marshall said.

Perhaps that moment illuminates Kane’s greatest public value, an idea that led to a Kane exhibition at the London Museum this year as a lesson for children, the idea that if a fledgling career hasn’t worked out for age, it still might. Just then came the loans that deepened the anonymity: Lleyton Orient (18 games, 2011), Millwall (22 games, 2012), Norwich City (three games, 2012-13), Leicester City (13 matches, 2013). “Yes, it was difficult, obviously,” Kane told fellow former England captain Rio Ferdinand in an interview in 2016, “because you feel: if I don’t play for Leicester or Norwich, how am I going to do?” The Spurs team? But I came back after their loan spell and said: ‘This is the season I’m going to fight for.’ “

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So it bloomed and bloomed like crazy. It came on the big day of New Year’s Day 2015, the day Tottenham beat Chelsea 5-3 at home in a stunning display. It was such massive confidence that Barney Ronay of The Guardian marveled at “a player who simply continues to refuse to find his level, to plateau, to look down and feel the first little tremor after a dizzying five-month rise from midweek to the most impressive of the moment of the playing England midfielder… the design of which Marshall shows a photo reading: “Loan, loan, loan, loan, strip (White Hart, home of Tottenham), lion (England), leader, legend”, with the legend possibly started keep sprouting.

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It has grown despite the great suffering that still lingers: Kane, unlike other captains, has not played for any champions and Tottenham have not had a First Division title since 1961, an FA Cup title since 1991, a Champions League title. There is less charm there.

What’s fascinating is that Kane’s outing was, in a way, small. From the stadium where the grown-up Kane works, it’s a walk without falling to the neighborhood where the kid Kane started his apprenticeship, where passers-by would see him running extra runs. It’s about four miles over small bridges, over the motorway, down odd wooded city lanes, around the upper and right edges of London. You can start with the people lining up outside the stadium for a Lady Gaga show, occasionally turn around to see central London in the distance, and pop in behind Chingford terraced houses in a modest park behind a pub.

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In that park, near the forest, there is an abandoned goal that a father and two sons are kicking. Marshall says both Beckham (b. 1975) and Kane (b. 1993) kicked him there, among other places. They each attended Chingford Foundation School, which, along a residential street, looks like a secondary school for a film shoot. Other Chingford stars include Teddy Sheringham, a key player with a 24-year professional career and 51 caps for England. The famous gangster twins lie where most gangsters go (the cemetery). Winston Churchill once represented an area as a Member of Parliament. Also, like London itself, it’s an area with a wide range of cultures and income levels, Arsenal’s youth academy is prominent, and a program like Ridgeway Rovers has to be diligent and chronically budget minded.

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From there, the two almost humorous captains part ways. Where England captain great Beckham has always worn his chic, and while it became impossible to shop in the 2000s without seeing him in the gossip pages at the till, goalscoring great Kane under the England captain doesn’t really even scratch the edges of chic. . Beckham married a pop star, Kane married his high school sweetheart. Beckham’s charm was off the pitch, Kane’s charm stops off the pitch. Kane can be great and underrated, Beckham great and overrated. In the 2000s, Beckham’s walking tour of Chingford was possible with tourists from as far away as Japan, while the idea of ​​Kane’s trip may (for now) seem far-fetched.

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“Obviously Harry Kane didn’t create the same degree of notoriety,” Drury said. “He feels like an ordinary guy. And maybe that’s what endears him to the English audience… There’s no such instinctive charisma. He’s just one of us. He just does what is asked of him. He does it very quietly, desperately.

“With Harry,” Marshall said, “the fame is different because he’s not one of those guys who’s going to sell a brand of aftershave or a sharp suit or whatever. Beckham, you know what that means, catwalk guy, because apparently he looks like a catwalk. And things like that. And Harry is a bit more down to earth. He gets a lot of money from his sponsors, but obviously the ones he gets paid from are the ones you’d expect him to get paid from, sports companies and things like that where it makes sense. Where Beckham likes to put his name.

“Maybe that’s the difference between the two. And so Americans know [Beckham more].

Now the noisy team has a quiet leader in the World Cup and the preparation time is short. Now it’s England with Southgate and Kane, whose consistency Drury says has “reduced the weight of the England shirt”. The captain now had to “wait his turn”, said Drury, “to sit on the Spurs bench for longer than he probably expected and when the moment came he made the most of it”. As Drury said, it is “the maxim of life.” Maybe it’s vanilla and really exemplary.

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