Gareth Southgate has revealed England striker Harry Kane measures his goal record against perennial Ballon d’Or contenders Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tottenham striker Kane is a back-to-back golden boot winner at Premier League level and a brace against Malta on Friday took his international tally to 10 in 20 games.
With five of those coming in the past three games he is looking increasingly comfortable with the demands of leading his country’s attack and the Three Lions boss is impressed with just how high the forward’s sights are set.
“He’s in top form, but he’s also got the mentality to want to be the best,” said Southgate on the eve of Monday’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.
“He knows where he’s sitting. I asked him how many goals in how many games and he knew. He also knew how many Ronaldo had at this point, how many Messi had at this point and everybody else.
“He’s driven to be one of the world’s best and why can’t that happen moving forward?”
A quick look at the numbers suggests Kane is still some way short of the mark set by the Barcelona and Real Madrid rivals, regardless of his own impressive stats.
Kane turns 25 next July, an age at which Messi had netted 26 times for Argentina with Ronaldo boasting 22 for Portugal.
But Southgate is clear about just how big an asset he is and says the Spain manager shares the same view.
“I was having some interaction with Julen Lopetegui at a game and he was commenting on how lucky I was to have Harry playing,” he said.
“I have every trust in Harry. I’ve worked with him long enough, from the under-21s through, and he’ll deliver whatever the occasion.
“Harry is still in the early stages of his career, but he’s top scorer in the league two years running and in a really good place.
“You’ve got to have that drive and belief, and that’s what he’s got. He had that when we weren’t picking him in the under-21s. He’d come and say: ‘Hold on a minute, why? What’s the rationale?’ I never minded that self-belief. That’s all important.”
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, at 18 the most expensive French player of all time, said Sunday he wanted to “mark the history” of the French capital with his new club.
Mbappe, who hails from the northeastern Parisian surburb of Bondy, joined PSG from Monaco on a season-long loan last week in a deal that will make him the second most expensive footballer in history.
His overall transfer fee could rise to 180 million euros ($215 million) including add-ons, which would make Mbappe second only to new team-mate Neymar on the all-time list of costliest transfers.
“Big players have marked history in their country whether with the national team or their club,” Mbappe said in an interview with TF1, adding that it would have been premature to have left France.
“What I want to do is to really mark the history of my city. PSG was really the project that allowed me to carry on my progress while playing.”
Asked whether the arrival of Neymar from Barcelona for a record 222 million euros affected his decision to join PSG, Mbappe said: “No.
“Nonetheless, to play with Neymar is really something extraordinary. We all know the player he is. PSG already interested me but with Neymar it’s true that it was an extra boost.
“When you arrive at a club like that, which has the ambition of becoming the best club in the world, you have the ambition to win everything.
“The Champions League is part of those competitions so we’ll play to win everything.”
French pundits were left purring about Mbappe, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger telling TF1 he had the potential “to become a Pele”, and 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu claiming he was “more complete” than France’s record goal scorer Thierry Henry at the same age.
Mbappe scored his first international goal in France’s 4-0 victory over the Netherlands on Thursday, coming off the bench to net at the death.
Kylian Mbappe will continue to wear the No. 29 jersey after joining from Monaco on a season long loan.
PSG made the announcement of Mbappe’s number while launching their new third kit.
Mbappe inherits the shirt from striker Jean-Kevin Augustin, who moved to RB Leipzig this summer.
He had switched to No. 10 this season at Monaco, but that number is not available at PSG, with fellow big-money signing Neymar having claimed that upon his arrival to Parc des Princes.
The youngster’s shirt is expected to be a popular purchase among fans, along with that of Neymar.
*Picture taken from PSG’s official store