After being selected in the England senior squad for the first time, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane was subjected to an embarrassing initiation ritual dating back to 1872.
A sniggering Wayne Rooney handed Kane a leather-bound book containing Ovid’s Ars Amatoria and his new team-mates hooted their appreciation as the new boy dutifully translated its elegiac, erotic couplets.
To mutterings of “He’s doing it!”, Kane – blushing crimson red – navigated the 57 Latin poems, in the main providing an adequate translation to the delight of the rest of the squad, despite being more comfortable with the dactylic hexameters more usually associated with a didactic work.
“To be fair to the Citizen [Harry Kane], he’s stood up there and been a good sport,” Leighton Baines told FourFourTwo.
“[The initiation] is great for team bonding but it’s tough on the lad who’s staring down a gerundive in a text that’s more than 1800 years old.
“I’ll never forget the mess I made of Martial’s Book X back in 2010. Just the other day I came back to me [my] locker and the lads had written: ‘These are the things, most prolific, fruitful / And inventive Martialis, that make life good’ on it in marker pen.”
“It’s all good fun,” Rooney told FFT. “We’ll give the new lad a piece of Ovid or Martial to translate, something a bit juicy – but never Catullus. We have our limits.
“The way Harry dealt with the end of the second book, a classical take on the topic of simultaneous orgasm, showed us all that if he gets a chance against Lithuania he’ll keep his cool.”
Kane’s Tottenham team-mate Danny Rose reportedly pulled out of the squad to face Lithuania and Italy as he feared he would be forced to translate Catullus's 16, the smutty hendecasyllabic masterpiece widely held responsible for the decline of Francis Jeffers.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.