New captain, old story: Kane says England can win World Cup

Newly-appointed captain Harry Kane wasted little time setting out his stall by expressing his belief England can win this summer’s World Cup.

Months of questions and speculation came to an end when the 24-year-old was confirmed as Gareth Southgate’s skipper for Russia.

Kane has long been favourite to wear the armband at the World Cup given the Tottenham striker epitomises the brave, bold and fearless mindset the manager is trying to instill.

Despite being part of the Euro 2016 exit to Iceland, failings of the past do not appear to weigh heavy and the Tottenham striker spoke up the Three Lions’ chances in his first press conference as captain.

“I think we can, I think we can win it,” Kane said at St George’s Park.

“I think we’re not going to be favourites to win it. We know we’re not favourites to win it.

“But you look at this season, for example, no one would have thought Liverpool would have got to the Champions League final and they did.

“And you look at maybe Man United back in the Ferguson days when they had a young team and dominated the Premier League for years to come.

“So, it’s not really an excuse that we’re young — it could be a good thing.

“I believe we can win it and that’s what we’ve got to try and do. Anything else is not good enough, really.”

Kane freely admits he has dreamt about lifting the World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium this July and believes the squad’s youthful exuberance will mean the shirt will perhaps not weigh as heavy as it has done on the teams gone by. “For me, it’s a strange one,” he said of the pressure.

“I feel like the mentality... maybe we’re a bit afraid to say we want to win stuff because we’re afraid of the reaction of maybe the media or the fans, so maybe that has made players go into a bit of a shell.

“Whereas what I am trying to say is look, we’re not afraid to say we want to win it because every country wants to win it.

“We have to be brave, we have to take it on the chin. Whether we go out at the group stage or the semi-final, it’s the same - you don’t win the World Cup.

“That’s what we’ve got to try and discuss as players, to have no fear, just when we talk about it we want to win it and we go from there.”

Meanwhile Julen Lopetegui has signed a contract extension to remain as Spain coach for another two years.

The 51-year-old took charge in 2016 and his new deal ties him to La Roja until 2020.

Luis Rubiales, the new president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), said: “We were clear on this, we couldn’t allow Julen and his team to get away. The work Lopetegui has done in these two years is brilliant. It took us five minutes to finalise things.”

Lopetegui replaced the hugely-successful Vicente del Bosque as Spain coach after Euro 2016 and has enjoyed an impressive start to life in the hotseat.

He has yet to taste defeat in his 18 matches in charge, recording 13 wins and five draws, and guided Spain to this summer’s World Cup finals with a 28-point haul from a possible 30 in qualifying.


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