Seven goals in five Euro 2020 qualifiers for England and seven for Spurs this season — once again the numbers stack up for Harry Kane, although they tell just a small part of the story.

In Sofia yesterday, England's captain conceded the club he returns to this week find themselves in a "tough period", ninth in the Premier League and already 13 points behind leaders Liverpool.

In May, Kane was one game from a Champions League winners' medal but now Tottenham look further away than ever.

This looms as a crucial season in the career of a striker who emerged from nowhere five years ago and now, with every goal, seems to be passing another august name from England's past on the all-time scorers' list. His penalty in Prague last week took him past Bryan Robson and level with David Platt on 27 and one more will take him to 11th, alongside Steve Bloomer.


Kane's was a rare standout performance in the defeat by the Czech Republic that put the brakes on England's qualifying campaign, for his judicious use of the ball and two eye-catching passes to Raheem Sterling, one in each half.

His ability to play the ball first time, or hold it and draw the foul will again be crucial this morning when playing Bulgaria, who he scored a hat-trick against in March.

And aside from Tottenham's defeat at Brighton before the international break, the goals have flowed steadily for his club as well.

One more goal will get him the post-war England record outright for most goals as captain. He is on 20 — the same number scored by Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney after they had been given the armband.

He will be captain when he returns to Spurs in the absence of the injured Hugo Lloris and evidently likes the role. What kind of captain is he? Kane says he tries to lead by example, "not getting too down when you lose a game, not getting too high when you win games".

"It is a long old season for club and country ahead — a lot of games to be played, so there are going to be tough periods. We are in one now as a club. Hopefully we can win [against Bulgaria] for England and that will make Friday night['s loss to the Czech Republic] less impactful and then I'll go back to Spurs and take that in my stride and see how that progresses."

The captaincy could be crucial in the Vasil Levski Stadium if judgement has to be brought to bear on racial abuse from the stands, although you get the impression the players would rather that was taken out of their hands.

As for the form of the team and for Kane at Spurs, the requirement, as ever, is that he keeps scoring. Were those to dry up, then both club and country would be in trouble.


Kane says he already knows pressure.

"I have been in high-pressure situations before in my career, whether that is going through goal droughts, playing in high-pressure games or not playing well as a team."

It is always there, although he has long since learnt he has to find a way to score goals in teams struggling for confidence.