Wayne Rooney has told Monday Night Football on Sky Sports (broadcast on 4/4; 19:33) that he was shocked to see Harry Kane left out of the England starting lineup that faced Ivory Coast during the international break as the Tottenham Hotspur talisman closes in on his goalscoring record.
Kane is now within four goals of Rooney’s tally of 53 for the Three Lions. The latest came with the winner against Switzerland in the opening game of the most recent break.
It has seemed inevitable for some time that Kane will become the all-time leading goalscorer for England. He only turns 29 in the summer. And he is playing almost as well for Tottenham as he ever has done right now.
Some may think that the World Cup later this year may provide the perfect stage for Kane to break the record. However, Rooney has taken a different view.
The Derby County boss expressed his excitement for Kane taking his record for England. However, he suggested that it would be good for the Spurs star to get that out of the way before the tournament begins.
“I was so surprised he didn’t [start] against Ivory Coast. Honestly, because I think for him, I think for Gareth as well, he should try and get that record before the World Cup so it doesn’t become a distraction,” he told Monday Night Football.
Tottenham schedule may have been behind Kane not starting both games for England
In fairness to Southgate, England have plenty of games left before the World Cup kicks off. So Kane still has time to reach 54 goals.
It may well have been that the England boss was wary of using Kane too much in the break. They had two friendlies. Southgate already knows everything about Kane.
It would have been awful for Tottenham if Kane had picked up any injury while away. And obviously, there was a greater risk of that happening if he had played every minute.