England boss Gareth Southgate lists three strengths in ‘brilliant’ Harry Kane performance

England striker Harry Kane put his Tottenham woes to one side with a performance against Albania boss Gareth Southgate described as ‘brilliant’. The Three Lions scored a hat-trick to put his side on course for the World Cup, with a point against minnows San Marino on Monday enough to qualify for next year’s tournament in Qatar. 

Southgate’s side thrashed Albania 5-0 at Wembley with all five goals coming in the first half. 

Harry Maguire opened the scoring with a thumping header before Kane scored his first of the night with his head. 

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson scored a superb solo goal – just his second in an England shirt – before Kane added two more. His second goal was a clinical left-footed drive before he completed a perfect treble with a stunning bicycle kick. 

The 28-year-old has had a tough season. He was denied a transfer to Manchester City and the frustration over the failed move appears to have affected his club performances. 

Kane has scored just one Premier League goal this term. Under sacked boss Nuno Espirito Santo, he was handed a deeper forward role that meant he was often not on hand to finish the type of chances he finished so well for England. 

It was not just the hat-trick that pleased Southgate, who it has emerged today is reportedly set for a two-year contract extension. 

The former defender was also impressed with Kane’s all-round game and pinpointed the way he ‘competed’, held up possession and linked up with onrushing support. 

“I thought he gave a brilliant centre-forward’s performance. He competed, he held up the ball and he played other people in,” Southgate said of Kane.

“Of course, his finishing was outstanding. I thought his all-round game was excellent.”

Asked if some of his players, including goalscorers Kane and Maguire had a point to prove given their poor club form, the 51-year-old continued: “I don’t think it’s that so much (being fired up). We are at our best when we have an edge.

“We didn’t produce what we should have done against Hungary and we wanted to put that right. We had a game tonight that could put us on the edge of World Cup qualification. It’s as simple as that.”


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