June 14th 2014, the date England last played against Italy in what was to ultimately be a woeful World Cup for both teams involved. A 2-1 loss to the Azzurri signalled the start of a miserable campaign for the Three Lions, which offered few positives during their brief stint in Brazil. Despite the encouraging breakthrough performances of Raheem Sterling on the international stage, there was little else left to praise, making the immediate future appear rather bleak for Roy Hodgson and his men.
However, fast forward to last night's game against Italy and there was an air of renewed optimism surrounding the England team before kick-off. Not because Sterling looked to continue his early promise seen in Brazil, but instead that Tottenham striker, Harry Kane, was about to make his first start for the senior side.
Having made his England debut as a second-half substitute in last week's 4-0 demolition of Lithuania, Kane's goal after just 79 seconds on the pitch showed why Hodgson faced calls to consider starting him in that match.
Various loan spells away at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester City whilst working his way through the youth ranks at Tottenham, did little to grab the attention of then manager, Andre Villas-Boas. Instead, Kane had to wait until the appointment of Tim Sherwood, who he previously worked under in the under-21 team at Spurs, before he was given a shot at first-team football.
Sitting behind in the pecking order to the expensive acquisitions of Emmanuele Adebayor and Roberto Soldado, initially his chances were few and far between. Largely restricted to brief appearances in cup matches, Kane soon developed into a prospect that Sherwood would find too tempting to leave out.
Persistence pays off
Making his first Premier League start at the back end of last season, three goals in his first three games prompted a run of goal-scoring form which Kane has continued to maintain to this day.
Even a change of of manager over the summer did little to halt Kane's rapid rise to prominence. Despite being overlooked in the early months of this season's Premier League campaign, his hot streak of goals in the League Cup and Europa League, left Pochettino no chance but to hand him the strikers role in Spurs' Premier League fixtures.
Having scored 19 goals since to become the league's joint top scorer, shows that the manager was right to promote the academy graduate into the Tottenham starting XI, and they haven't looked back since.
Shearer comparisons justified
Already causing pundits to draw comparisons between his style of play and that of former great, Alan Shearer, Kane has done little do dispel such views. Able to score a range of goals from tap-ins, to long-range screamers, it is easy to see why similarities have been noted.
Although still early in the early stages of his career, by managing to blast his way into unexpected notoriety within Premier League, the signs are there that he could repeat such a feat at international level. Proving with haste that goals for England are not difficult to come by, the future of Harry Kane looks bright. Perhaps the Three lions have just recieved their latest goal-scoring great.