During England’s first Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy in Naples on Thursday, Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane surpassed Wayne Rooney’s record for the most goals scored while representing the Three Lions and was lauded by Gareth Southgate and Wayne Rooney for his mental resilience and leadership qualities.
Kane, the team captain, scored the crucial goal that helped England secure the win and also broke the country’s all-time goal-scoring record with his 54th international goal, surpassing Wayne Rooney’s previous record. Notably, Kane had been tied with Rooney after missing a penalty during England’s loss to France in the World Cup quarter-finals last December.
The victory in Naples was particularly impressive as it came against the reigning European champions.
“To break the record in the manner he did given the recent history was an indication of his strength of character. I couldn’t be happier for him,” Southgate told reporters.
“To do it as quick as he has as well, he still has a lot of his career to go, is an incredible achievement,” He added.
“The players gave him a brilliant reception afterwards and I think that was a response to the record and what he’s had to recover from.”
Wayne Rooney scored 53 goals for England during his 13-year international career. However, during the match against Italy, Harry Kane had the chance to break this record when he took a penalty in the first half, which he successfully converted, bringing his total goals for England to 54. After the match, Rooney quickly congratulated Kane and humbly praised him on Twitter for breaking the record. Rooney is a legendary striker for Manchester United.
Congratulations to @HKane on becoming @England’s all-time leading goalscorer. I knew it wouldn’t take long but that was quick 🤣. Great man, unbelievable goalscorer and an England legend. Congrats Harry 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/mX7M8S8al3
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) March 23, 2023
Despite a strong start from England, Italy managed to score a goal through debutant Mateo Retegui, and Luke Shaw was sent off with two yellow cards in quick succession during the 80th minute.
Despite these setbacks, England managed to hold on for the win.
“We showed two sides without a doubt. We had great control from the back in the first half.” “Frankly we should have had the game buried, it should have been 3-0 at half-time,” added Southgate.
“We conceded a really poor goal, several errors in the lead up to it, and then the whole emotion of evening changes.”
Italy coach Roberto Mancini spoke to the media after the game.
“Second half we were great. We saw the real team there which pressed and didn’t let them breathe,” said Mancini.
“We conceded two goals which we could have avoided.”
“The first goal was down to distraction… In the second half we didn’t concede a shot against a team which didn’t go down to 10 until the 80th minute.”