Harry Kane had just three England goals to his name when Wayne Rooney broke Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record of 49 in a 2-0 victory over Switzerland in a Euro qualifier in 2015.
On Thursday against Italy, Kane netted his 54th goal for his country in 81 appearances to surpass Rooney in the record books.
Kane fired home a penalty shortly before halftime in Naples in England’s 2-1 victory to become his country’s all-time top scorer. He looks capable of adding many more.
Rooney, whose 53 goals came in 120 games, was one of the first to congratulate the England captain Kane.
“Congratulations to Harry Kane on becoming England’s all-time leading goalscorer. I knew it wouldn’t take long but that was quick. Great man, unbelievable goalscorer and an England legend. Congrats Harry!” Rooney said on Twitter.
It was a special moment for Kane who had the chance to break the record in the World Cup quarter-final against France but missed a late penalty in the 2-1 defeat in Qatar.
“I was on the pitch when Wayne broke the record. I know what it meant to him and I was so proud of him,” Kane told Channel 4.
“I remember when I gave him the boot for breaking the record, he said he would be giving it back to me one day.”
Kane, 29, had already set one goalscoring record this season, having gone past Jimmy Greaves’s haul of 266 goals for Tottenham last month. He now has 271 for the London club.
His strike rate for England is extraordinary and in 64 appearances under Gareth manager Southgate, he has bagged 49 goals. No wonder Southgate was effusive in his praise.
“To break the record in the manner he did given the recent history was an indication of his strength of character and his mentality,” Southgate said.
“He is a brilliant professional and to do it as quickly as he has with still a lot of his career to come is an incredible achievement.”
Kane, who scored 79 seconds into his international debut in 2015, is scoring at the rate of one goal every 1.5 games for his country – a ratio only bettered by Greaves.
He has five England hat-tricks to the six of Greaves but
Thursday’s penalty was special.
“It means everything. I was so excited to put the England shirt on, get back out here and get the campaign started for next year’s Euros,” Kane said.
“It had to be a penalty, and once it hit the back of the net, huge emotion. A magical moment.
“Just a great night, we haven’t won in Italy for so long. To score and win is so special.”