England boss Gareth Southgate believed that Harry Kane’s ability to score his record-breaking goal under pressure was a testament to his character
According to Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane’s record-breaking goal in England’s 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifying win against Italy demonstrated his exceptional mental toughness.
The Three Lions were able to get some revenge for their defeat to Italy in the previous European Championship final by winning their Group C opener at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Southgate full of praise for England players
England’s Declan Rice scored the first goal of the match, and Harry Kane netted a penalty just before halftime to become the leading goalscorer for England.
Despite a second-half debut goal by Mateo Retegui and Luke Shaw’s red card, England held on to secure their first away win against Italy since May 1961.
Kane had a memorable night as he surpassed Wayne Rooney’s record and scored his 54th goal for England.
Southgate’s side dominated the first half, which allowed him to become the third manager in England’s history to record 50 wins as the head coach of the national team.
The other two managers to achieve this feat are Alf Ramsey, who recorded 69 wins, and Walter Winterbottom, who had 78 victories.
He said: “Kane was extraordinary. Breaking the record in these conditions demonstrates all the mental strength he has.
“It’s truly an exceptional achievement; the players cheered for him and this is a reaction both to the record and what he had to go through in Qatar.”
Southgate believed that his team had a dominant first half against Italy, but the second half saw a change in momentum and the opposition put up a tougher challenge. The coach acknowledged that his team made things harder for themselves after the excellent start.
“We had an exceptional first half, while it was a very tough second half,” he said. “We showed two different faces; we controlled the game very well in the first half as soon as we escaped the first line of pressing and at the interval it might have been 3-0.
“At the beginning of the second half we made some wrong decisions and the momentum changed.”