Harry Kane described his 54th international goal as a “magical moment” as he became England’s all-time leading goalscorer in a 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifying win away to Italy on Thursday. The Tottenham striker banished memories of his crucial penalty miss in the Three Lions’ World Cup quarter-final defeat by France in December by smashing home a spot-kick just before half-time to give the visitors a 2-0 lead in Naples.
“It had to be a penalty, and once it hit the back of the net, huge emotion,” Kane told Channel 4. “A magical moment.”
On his 81st international appearance, the England captain moved clear of Wayne Rooney‘s tally of 53 goals for the Three Lions.
“I knew it wouldn’t take long but that was quick,” Rooney posted on Twitter. “Great man, unbelievable goalscorer and an England legend. Congrats Harry.”
Kane also surpassed Jimmy Greaves’ previous record of 266 to become Tottenham’s top scorer in February.
“To be a part of that is amazing. I just want to say a big thanks to all my teammates, the staff, the fans, my family back home and my wife,” added Kane after England’s first win away to Italy since 1961.
“Just a really special night for me and a night I will never forget. I’m just really proud.”
The 29-year-old scored his first senior international goal just seconds into his debut as a Wembley substitute against Lithuania in March 2015.
He was named as Gareth Southgate’s skipper ahead of the 2018 World Cup and led his country to the semi-finals, bagging the Golden Boot with six goals in Russia.
Four more goals at Euro 2020 helped England reach a first major final since 1966.
Kane’s two goals at the 2022 World Cup saw him move ahead of Gary Lineker as England’s top scorer at major tournaments with 12.
However, a career laden with personal milestones is still lacking collective glory.
Kane is yet to win a major trophy for club or country.
As well as the near-misses for England, he was on the losing side when Tottenham reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history in 2019, going down 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.
His future at club level is again a source of speculation with just over one year left to run on his contract amid interest from Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
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