Harry Kane would rather play his way through his ongoing 479-minute goal drought for England than opt for a bit of rest after playing nearly 4,000 minutes (equivalent to more than 40 shifts of 90 minutes) for club and country thus far in 2018.
Speaking after England’s 0-0 draw with Croatia on Friday, Kane was asked whether or not he’s concerned by the fact he’s not scored for the national team since the Three Lions’ round of 16 triumph over Russia on July 3 (six appearances). Much like his manager Gareth Southgate, Kane essentially shrugged off the rough patch as part of the ebbs and flows a footballer experiences over a prolonged period of time.
He has, after all, led the Premier League in combined goals over the least four-plus seasons, and he’s currently second in 2018-19 despite the obvious lack of form. In case anyone had forgotten, he’s happy to remind them — quotes from the Guardian:
“When you set the standards that I’ve set over the last few years and you fall a little bit below them, people are going to talk. That’s just the game we are in. I’m experienced enough now to know that and not to get too high or too low.
“I just stay focused on my job and what I need to do. In the Premier League, I’m second-top goalscorer. I’d like to have scored more for England recently but, as a striker, you go through spells where maybe it goes off the bar, whereas other times it comes off your heel and goes in the back of the net like in the World Cup.
“I don’t think my game has dipped. It’s been tough after the World Cup, not getting much rest, but I think I’ve dealt with it well. I’ve stayed fit and stayed healthy. That’s my main priority at the start of the season. Now it’s building on that and pushing forward over the winter period.”
“I thought I played well against Croatia in a tough game. When you are up there, you just have to battle, hold it up, bring others into play. For me, it’s just focus on my job for the team. I’ll be ready to go Monday.”
Still, it’s painfully apparent to anyone who has watched Kane on a game-by-game basis for the last four years that he’s not playing up to his maximum potential. He hasn’t done so since suffering an ankle injury early last spring, only to miss a very brief period of time before being rushed back for the conclusion of the PL season.
Bullishness and self-belief are two very big parts of what helped Kane get to where he is in his career, but they might also be doing him more harm than good at the moment.