Harry Kane insists England are “not afraid” to say they can win the 2022 World Cup and believes their poor form has lowered expectations for Qatar.
Gareth Southgate’s side are one of the bookmakers’ favorites to win the tournament after reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, despite finishing second at the European Championships last year.
But Kane believes the Three Lions can go even further in the Middle East and win their first major trophy since lifting the World Cup in 1966.
In an exclusive interview with sky sportsEngland captain Kane said: “We have to believe we can win.
“I think back to England 10, 15 years ago and it was almost [like] we were afraid to say we wanted to win. I think one of the big changes we’ve made over the last four or five years with Gareth is not being afraid to say it.
“Listen, we’re going to this tournament to win it because we believe we can. It would be a mistake to think otherwise. What’s the point of going to a World Cup and not believing you can? take the trophy home?
“It’s going to be tough and we’re going to have to work extremely hard, get a little lucky and do a lot of things to get there.
“But I think it’s important not to be afraid to say that’s what we’re going to do there.”
“Poor form lowered expectations”
Southgate’s side, however, are taking part in the World Cup after a winless Nations League campaign that ended in relegation.
England start the tournament against Iran on November 21 looking for their first win in seven games after three draws and three defeats, but Kane believes their poor form has helped lower expectations for Qatar.
“The first game is really important, for sure,” Kane said. “Of course it hasn’t been the best time in a long time for England. Since Gareth took over, we haven’t had a spell like the one we had.
“But in a way before a major tournament, it can be a very good thing because it allows you not to get carried away, or even the media or the press to get carried away.
“I feel like if we had won every game leading up to this tournament, it would have been ‘We’re sure to win it’ and ‘We’re going to win it’, and that can come with different pressure. .
“We think the main thing is to be judged at major tournaments and the last two we’ve had have been good.
“We have good confidence in ourselves that we can go and have a great tournament in Qatar.”
Kane: Jumping straight into World Cup mid-season ‘helps’
Kane has been in fine form for Tottenham this season having scored 13 goals in all competitions, including a goal in Spurs’ last game before the World Cup in Saturday’s home win over Leeds.
But the 29-year-old has played 22 consecutive games for Tottenham, raising question marks over his level of fitness.
Kane, however, believes the mid-season World Cup, which kicks off on November 20, will serve him well.
He said: “Of course I would prefer to play a lot of games where you feel fit.
“Sometimes after the season in the summer you take a break and then you have to get ready to play and you haven’t played many games.
“I think rolling in it can help – as long as you manage it well and recover well. I think recovery is the most important thing for any player in this period.
“You can try to train as much as you can, but the main thing is you have to be ready to have all your energy ready for the game, and that’s what I try to do.”
The 2022 World Cup will be Kane’s fourth major tournament with England and he explained the challenges they bring.
“I think the majors test you the most in terms of high pressure,” he said. “Playing for England is always high pressure, but in a major tournament there is always that extra incentive.
“There will probably be a penalty shoot-out – teams that reach the final normally have to win at least one penalty shoot-out, so these are high pressure moments.
“The mentality of being away from home, being in camp for five or six weeks, but this one is pretty quick because it’s in season. Normally you’re out four or five weeks before the tournament, then you’re out four or five weeks in the tournament, so that’s a long period of time where you’re just outside your comfort zone.
“But I guess what separates the best nations and the winning nations from the others is who can handle this best.”
Neville: ‘We should give England some slack at the World Cup’
speaking on Sky Sports’ World Cup Special, Gary Neville said: “I think we should be extremely proud of these players. I look at my own career and the tournaments I’ve been in, these players have gone further than I have ever gone. They made it to the final and that’s an incredible achievement for England.
“Gareth has earned the right to be able to have a tougher tournament. I’m not saying we should drop out of the group, but if he makes it to the second round or gets knocked out in the quarter-finals, he should still be able to. decide whether to continue or not.
“These players have built a massive relationship. You can see they have changed the dynamic and the spirit of the team. They seem to get along well, you can see that when they play each other in the Premier League I think they will deliver for us in the tournament.
“I think they’ll struggle to get past the quarter-finals because of the path they’re on, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad tournament and these players should be ridiculed for that. They had a brilliant four, five years under Gareth and to be fair we should give them some slack ahead of this tournament.”