Harry Kane sends clear transfer message to Man City with record-breaking England display

Southgate claims pundits make criticisms to 'stay relevant'

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An England procession into Qatar 2022 was certain, but even Harry Kane’s four goal first-half haul was more surprising than San Marino’s neon orange kit. The minnows celebrated their 90th anniversary with the commemorative orange and red jersey, and Kane looked intent on marking their occasion with a goal for every year.

It was reported the Tottenham Hotspur hitman went out of his way to ask Gareth Southgate to start against the minnows, and from the very first minute until he was brought off in the 62nd minute.

Only a power cut like the one experienced in Serravelle the prior evening would have been capable of stopping Kane.

But his cold-blooded finishing instincts looked to have returned, as he glided around the pitch with the same menacing intent and threat of Jack Nicholson in the Shining.

Recent history has taught English football anything it is that when the England captain gets a taste of goals, he delivers them in baulk orders only.

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How Antonio Conte would have been thanking his lucky stars of the timing of this fixture, and how Nuno Espirto Santo would have been cursing his?

While football matches will never come any easier than a trip to San Marino, strikers need goals like a car needs fuel, and Kane looks like he could go from 0-60 when he returns to Premier League action. Kane would perhaps be disappointed he was not the first Harry to get on the scoresheet.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, another player who desperately needed an international break, headed home Phil Foden’s cross for his second goal in two England matches.

Bukayo Saka’s deflected cross doubled the lead and set the stage for Kane to cause havoc at poor Franco Varrella’s side’s expense. Kane’s four goals before half-time had a little bit of everything.

Two thumping penalties, an instinctive deft touch from Emile Smith-Rowe’s cross, and a powerful slaloming run through the purported defence culminating in a razor-sharp finish into the bottom corner.

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And he will be welcomed back into the warm embrace of a manager who is perhaps the best at harnessing the confidence of his goalscorers.

Conte got the best out of the likes of Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez, and Kane now has the momentum to drag Tottenham up the table.

Defensive solidity may have been the foundations Conte’s five title wins were constructed upon, but clean sheets are not keen without goals at the other end.

Unfortunately, Conte will not be the only manager licking his lips as Pep Guardiola could be licking his lips in Manchester.

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Guardiola desperately wanted to add Kane into his ominous frontline in the summer, but Daniel Levy’s stubbornness was as tough as Conte’s defences.

However, with ESPN reporting another possible transfer saga between Kane, Spurs, and Manchester City, Conte may need to start preparing his charm offensive.

Kane has refound his taste and instinct for goals and Conte will already have a plan on how to weaponise him.

And it may need to drag Tottenham into the Champions League and into trophy contention.

Mistakes were made and learned from by Kane and his party in the last window and there may be nowhere to hide if City come back with their millions.

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