Harry Kane believes Bayern Munich pressure will sharpen his England edge

  • Striker enjoying the pressure of playing for German champions
  • Southgate praises Jude Bellingham’s ‘emotional intelligence’

Harry Kane has set his sights on a Hollywood ending to the season as he said that the demands of playing for Bayern Munich would sharpen his mentality and benefit England.

The £100m striker, preparing with England for Saturday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine in Wroclaw, is mindful that the finals of the competition next summer are in the country where he now lives. Furthermore, the Champions League final that Bayern expect to win is in Kane’s home city, London. Could the dream double be written in the stars?

“I have been told about the Champions League final at Wembley, for sure, and I know the Euros are in Germany so if there’s someone out there writing a movie … I will try my best to make it happen,” Kane said, with a smile. “I don’t want to think about it too much but if it did happen it would be incredible.”

Kane has started brightly at Bayern after his move from Tottenham, scoring three times in his first three Bundesliga appearances, but not as well as his England teammate, Jude Bellingham, has done at Real Madrid; the midfielder has five goals in four games. Kane joked that he could be in a battle with Bellingham for the European Golden Boot but what is clear is that both of them thriving at the very top can only help England.

“It’s definitely a different pressure compared to what I felt at Spurs,” Kane said. “Of course we wanted to win things at Spurs but if you went a couple of games without winning then it wasn’t a disaster. The feeling at Bayern is that you have to win every game. We won the first two games 4-0 and 3-1 and there was still talk about not being too happy about the way we played. I’m enjoying feeling those different emotions.

“Just the experiences of having title runs, cup runs and hopefully a Champions League run will add, hopefully, to handling pressure in certain situations with England. If we are going to win anything with England we are going to have to deal with that.”

Kane also admitted that it had been difficult for him to watch his England teammates winning major honours, especially the Champions League. His former Spurs teammate Kyle Walker can now call himself a European champion after winning the competition with Manchester City last season.

“As a competitor, when the boys are playing the Champions League [final] and I am just sitting at home watching it, I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that hurt,” Kane said. “Of course, I want them to do well – Kyle and all those guys to win when they are in competitions I am not in – but a part of me wants to have those experiences. I am not sure jealous is the right word but it does motivate me.”

Bellingham may not ultimately run Kane close in the goalscoring stakes but Gareth Southgate is not surprised by the fast start made at the Bernabéu by a player who only turned 20 in June. “He has a huge maturity,” the England manager said. “He has a good emotional intelligence. He has had to go into a dressing room and an interesting dynamic where some world class players are there and he is there to ultimately take their place but, knowing him, he will have approached them off the pitch with huge respect and will have gone into the training sessions and the games ready to compete and show what a good player he is.”

Jude Bellingham in action during a training session at St George's Park
Jude Bellingham has been even more prolific in front of goal than Harry Kane this season. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/The FA/Getty Images

It was put to Southgate that Bellingham, who has taken up a more advanced position at Real due to Karim Benzema’s departure, may have the sniffer’s gifts of a modern-day Bryan Robson. “I guess [with] the ability to arrive in the box late, but I think it’s better for him to be the first of him rather than the next of someone else,” he said.

England could conceivably qualify for the finals on Tuesday, with four games to spare, if they beat Ukraine and other results go their way. Their qualifying groups have long been bereft of jeopardy but Southgate praised the squad’s motivation levels and highlighted the value of the ultimate prize. In a meeting early this week he told them to target victory in Germany next summer.

“We were finalists last time and we felt that in the World Cup we played very well, lost to one of the best two teams in the world, and we know that there’s the possibility for this team to get better as well. So I think now they need that challenge, that the players don’t want us to come in and be talking differently, and we’ve got evidence over a long period of time that we should have that belief.

“There is definitely belief. They definitely have huge desire. They have had a lot of success at club level and for a lot of them the missing piece is something with England which they know would be bigger than anything else they have achieved.”

Southgate is considering starting the in-form James Maddison on the left side of his front line.


David Hytnerand Nick Ames in Wroclaw

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