Selfless Kane is England's greatest striker – and two games from glory

There are three players in world football who can do what they want and Harry Kane isn’t one of them. Things are different for Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo. Normal rules do not apply.

They are luxury players who have the luxury of not having to do what every other player has to do. They don’t have to track back and defend, they don’t have to close down opponents and they don’t have to try and win the ball back.

Sure, they will go through the motions once in a while, but you can tell their heart is not really in it. If you watch them at a game you will quickly notice they do very little when their team is out of possession. That is not a criticism. They are so good their team is set up around them.

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Sky Sports’ Peter Smith looks at the underwhelming stats and figures surrounding Harry Kane’s Euros display so far and questions whether the Bayern Munich striker is fully fit and firing for the Three Lions

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Sky Sports senior reporter Rob Dorsett looks at the form of Harry Kane and whether or not his place in England’s starting line-up against the Netherlands is under threat

Why should they waste their energy trying to win the ball back when it makes more sense for them to find a pocket of space and wait for the ball to arrive? Their job is to create and score goals and their status, talent and track record means they are special cases.

Kane is different. He is England best-ever striker and has the records to prove it, but he is also a team player. When the opposition have the ball, Kane will not be standing on the halfway line with his hands on his hips.

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At this Euros, Kane has never stopped running and working and doing whatever it takes to make sure England have as good as chance as possible of becoming European champions for the first time. He may not be as mobile as he used to be, but he makes up for that in lots of other ways.

Switzerland are a side who are dangerous when they win the ball back. They can turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye. On Saturday evening in Dusseldorf, Kane never stopped dropping back every time England lost the ball, trying to make sure that the threat of Switzerland’s counterattacks was eliminated.

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In a perfect world, Kane would stay up front and wait for all the great chances that the wonderful players around him would create. Tournament football is not a perfect world, though, and chances have been hard to come by in Germany this summer.

Even so, Kane has scored two crucial goals for England at these Euros and he is only one goal away from becoming the tournament’s joint-top scorer. Let’s not forget he has scored a record 65 times in 96 games for his country, 12 at the past three major tournaments and 44 for Bayern Munich last season.

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They are impressive numbers, so it seemed almost surreal to hear Kane’s England team-mates having to stand up for him this week. Luke Shaw has talked about Kane’s leadership qualities and the aura that surrounds him on and off the pitch. “He is our leader,” Shaw said. “He is our captain and we follow him.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold has called him an exemplary player who gives everything to the game and everything to the team, before reminding everyone that Kane is England’s record goalscorer.

Despite all the records, Kane has famously never won any silverware during his career – the striker is now two games away from becoming only the second England captain to lift a major trophy.

If England triumph in Berlin on Sunday, it won’t be all about him. With Kane, the team always come first.

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