Alan Shearer believes Harry Kane has earned the right to lead the line for England at the European Championships and has backed him to become the country’s next great goalscorer.
Tottenham striker Kane was named in Roy Hodgson’s initial 26-man squad for the Euros, with three players to be trimmed before the May 31 deadline.
Having won the Barclays Premier League golden boot after scoring 25 goals as Spurs fell just short in the title race, Kane is a certainty to make the cut as long as he can avoid injury.
The 22-year-old has four England goals from his 10 caps – including a debut goal within 80 seconds of coming off the bench in a Euro 2016 qualifying win over Lithuania in March 2015.
Skipper Wayne Rooney may have become England’s all-time record goalscorer during the qualification campaign but he has not been on the same level as Kane, or Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, this season and now Shearer feels it is time to allow the Spurs striker to take the reins.
Asked if Kane can follow on from Shearer, Michael Owen and Rooney to become England’s next main goalscorer, the former Newcastle striker replied: “I think so, yes.
“He has earned the right to be given the chance to be England’s number one striker.
“Not only his goals but everything else he has added to his game – one or two were asking the question whether he could do it for a second season. Those who asked that question have that answer and it is an emphatic ‘yes’.”
Shearer, who scored 30 goals in 63 caps, was unequivocal when asked who he believes should start in attack when England face Russia in Marseille on June 11.
“Harry Kane, definitely, by himself,” the BBC pundit said.
“That is the way I would start it, a similar system to the one England beat Germany with. I think Harry has earned the right to be England’s number one striker and start the tournament as that and then the rest is up to him.”
Optimism around England is growing after the recent win in Germany and they are currently fourth favourites to win the tournament.
While backing Kane to start in the Group B opener, Shearer stressed that the Spurs man would have to grab the chance to stay in Hodgson’s side given the competition in attack – with fellow strikers Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford in contention along with Rooney and Vardy.
“He can do most things very well,” Shearer added.
“First and foremost as a forward you need to score goals and he can do that, he can bring people into the game if they need him to, he can run in behind so he is very good at most things.
“I’m a fan of his and that is why he would be my number one striker but then he has to go in and perform.
“If he doesn’t he knows there are other options there, Vardy has had a magnificent season, I don’t think Roy will start with two, but if he does why not both of them.”