By Michael Hann
England new boy Harry Kane is a “real handful” with all the attributes a top striker needs and will have no problem making the step up to international level, defender Gary Cahill said.
The 21-year-old Tottenham Hotspur striker has enjoyed a meteoric rise this season, bagging 29 goals in all competitions, including 19 in the Premier League, and his fine form has been rewarded with a first senior England call-up.
Kane celebrated being included in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley on Friday (9.45pm), and the friendly against Italy in Turin four days later, with his first Premier League hat-trick on Saturday as Spurs beat Leicester City 4-3.
Chelsea’s Cahill has come up against Kane three times this season and knows all about the youngster’s eye for goal after he scored twice in Tottenham’s surprise 5-3 Premier League win at White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day.
“To score a hat-trick in the match leading up to your first England call up is ideal. His confidence must be sky high,” Cahill told a news conference.
“I’ve played against him three times this season and he has been a real handful each time.
“He is a fantastic talent. He can hold the ball up, he can run in behind, he has two good feet. He has all the key attributes that a striker needs.
“Is he ready to start? That’s down to manager of course. We have top strikers all chomping at the bit and who are all capable of starting – Harry is in that bracket. I’m sure he feels ready to play.”
Kane will compete alongside forwards Wayne Rooney and Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck for a place in Hodgson’s starting line-up after Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge withdrew from the squad with a hip injury.
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has been equally impressed with Kane’s “sensational” progress this season.
“From the start of the season to the level he is playing at now, he has gone up two or three levels,” Carrick said.
“What has impressed me the most is that as the spotlight has increased on him, his performances have only improved and improved. That’s a good sign.
“I’m sure that shows that this season is not a one off – I think he’s got a big future ahead of him.”