Harry Kane can become England's next hero

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I must admit it was a point of personal disappointment when the team-sheets were handed out at Wembley this evening, only for Harry Kane’s omission from the starting XI to be confirmed.

No disrespect to the away nation intended, but England v Lithuania is far from a lucrative proposition for a sports writer. The game itself is virtually a safe bet on paper; the European minnows were always going to work their socks off at Wembley, but the skill of England’s Premier League stars was always going to prove too much.

The positive

There was one positive underpinning tonight’s encounter however. An element that made the build up to what was a straight forward Euro 2016 qualifier in London a point of intrigue. The inclusion of Tottenham's rising star, Harry Kane.

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It's testament to the aura of excitement the youngster has wrapped himself in that the focus of the media hype before the fixture was on whether or not Roy Hodgson would start him. In the end he opted not to get carried away with what would have been a risky gesture, but nevertheless there was a genuine air of anticipation surrounding when Kane would enter the fray.

Kane hype

The north London hit-man's goals this term have taken the footballing world by storm, and Mauricio Pochettino might not be sitting anywhere near so comfortably in his job had Spurs decided to give up on Kane's development in one of the years prior to this one where it looked like he might not make the grade.

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Tim Sherwood claims responsibility for being the one who kept him on board, as he naturally would, but in any case his presence has been an overriding factor in what might yet turn out to be a successful season for the Lilywhites. 

But I digress. After all, Kane isn't the first in-form striker to be given a nod for the national team, and he certainly won't be the last. Plenty have gone before him and then fizzled out into nothingness after making their international debuts for the Three Lions. Michael Ricketts, Francis Jeffers, David Nugent... you get the picture.

One gets the feeling Kane won't suffer the same one-time ignominy as those folks though. Not a chance.

Winning formula

The 21-year-old looks more than just a flash in the pan given his prowess across all competitions, and it's far more likely he'll go on to adapt into one of the country's leading forwards on the international scene. 

After all, winning the fans over is half the battle when it comes to being trusted to lead England's line. For the first time tonight Kane had supporters other than those who follow Tottenham backing him to score goals, and by god did they believe he'd find the back of the net.

Hodgson may have waited until the game was so far out of sight for Lithuania they'd need the Hubble Telescope to catch but a glimpse before throwing Kane on, but there can be no mistaking the delight of the crowd when the forward was given his moment.

You can generally tell when a very popular player is coming on when he returns from his warm-up. How? Because the crowd begin to offer a communal buzz. That buzz was loud and proud when Kane stood in the technical area waiting for the ball to go out of play. 

Kane's thunderous introduction

And so it was that he was introduced in the 70th minute, replacing England's leading hero, Wayne Rooney. He was given but 20 minutes to make the sort of impact his reputation has been built on this term. He needed all of two. 

The back-post header, sublimely set up by Raheem Sterling, was the fourth goal of the night, but the fans celebrated like it was the effort to send them to the Euros after a nerve-wrecking last few minutes. Kane touched down with aplomb, as per the written script, to give any remaining doubters over his ability another reason to think long and hard.

How good can it get?

Sure, there's going to be plenty harder tests for Kane to face during his international career, and just because he notched on his debut doesn't mean he's guaranteed a place in England's hall of fame, but I can attest to how quickly the Kane fever was running around Wembley tonight, and from the outside looking in he looks to have the whole package.

Perhaps he is the forward to breathe life in England when Rooney's best days are behind him; god knows the Manchester United man could do with someone to share his burden on the international stage. It's too early to tell to be frank, but if heroes are supposed to start off with thunderous introductions, Kane might well be on his way to super-stardom.

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Premier League
Wayne Rooney
Tottenham Hotspur
England Football

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